Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Difficult Day Ahead - Suggestions Welcome

I'm going to a baby shower tomorrow.

I've never been a big fan of girl parties that don't include multiple rounds of mixed cocktails and raucous laughter. At my baby showers, I insisted the hostesses ban games of any sort like those where you guess the baby's name, it's sex, or the size of my bulging abdomen. No, no. Not for me. Having said that, hanging with the girls and getting gifts - lots o' fun.

Since I don't know anyone going tomorrow except for the mom-to-be, I have been apprehensive about the party. But tonight I got an email that changed my outlook toward these proper, girly celebrations. I've been told that my friend, who was in remission from lung cancer, newly married and six months pregnant, has had a recurrence which has spread to other organs as well as her brain.

She is taking visitors tomorrow. The immediacy of the invitation frightens me. I want to be positive but I can't help considering the worst.

So after the baby shower, for which I will show much more respect and gratitude, I will go to the hospital.

It will be an emotional day visiting two pregnant friends. One in a beautiful garden accented with icy pitchers of lemonade and a procession of party dresses the other in a spare hospital room with a lifeless pitcher of tap and a show of hospital scrubs. Though both scenes are filled with the anticipation of life, the two couldn't be more different.

I'm struggling with what I am going to say to my sick friend. It's bad enough that she has cancer but with a baby on the way? I have so many questions, so many concerns, so many fears. What to ask? What not to ask? I'm worried what the look on my face will convey when I walk in the room.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them. I want to make her feel loved and cared for. I don't want to try too hard, put my foot in my mouth, and make her feel worse.



Your Pal Pinki said...

Just being there will say it all.

fracas said...

Be honest and tell her you have no idea what to say or how she feels but you will listen anytime she's ready to or needs to tell someone how she feels. Then keep your word.

And though it seems corny... helping out by offering meals or chores or any of the day to day things that suddenly won't be getting done in her home will take that burden off of her so she has room to carry the other.

I came over from Nanny Goats. He posted at my blog, I went there... etc.

I wish you the words you don't know you have until you open your mouth and out they come. Sometimes it happens that way.


Sue said...

How very hard. :-(

Everyone should have the garden and the lemonade. You are right - I've never fully appreciated that.

I agree with the previous commenters. Being there says so much and telling her you have no idea what to say can start the conversation.

I will hope for a miracle for your friend.

merlotmom said...

thank you for your help, guys. i especially appreciate fracas wish for the words to come when needed. beautiful.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I've been thru 5 surgeries and absolute hell over the last 2 years. All my friends were there for me at the beginning, but when it became apparent that I was not going to have a neat and tidy recovery the majority disappeared. Nothing has ever hurt me more. What your friend needs is YOU. And just a call once a week or once every other week to check in and say, "I'm thinking about you" will mean the world to her. It is uncomfortable for you, but what she is going thru is heartbreaking for her. She needs to know people care.

ByJane said...

Awwwww, shit. Talk about having your nose rubbed in the circularity of life. Give yourself a break, and don't put too much pressure on yourself to Say The Right Thing...which doesn't, of course, exist.

I'm with those who confront the awkwardness head on. I've had a catastrophic illness too that put me in the hospital for six weeks, and I can tell you that there's nothing more wearing than having to be "up" for your visitors. Let her say it sucks if she wants to or let her put on a happy face if that's her style. If you go in and tell her how you feel, then you give her the permission to tell you how she feels.

Jan said...

OMG. OMG. I can't even begin to imagine what your friend is going through.

I'm with everyone else. Let her know that you don't know what to say, and let her know that you are there for her no matter what.


Twenty Four At Heart said...

Finally got around to starting my blogroll today and I wanted to let you know you are on it!

merlotmom said...

Circle of life is right. I saw my friend. Not ready to talk about it yet, still processing.But it was, to say the least, the pits. Thanks for all of your support. Your guidance helped.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

So fracas thinks I'm a guy?

This is interesting because I told my husband that I thought I had left the story about you and me kinda gender vague when he said something about it having lesbian undertones. This just proves that my husband heard my voice when reading the blind date post. Or, that fracas wasn't paying attention. Still, it led him to you, and saying nice things. What a sweet guy. Oops! Have I just done the same thing? I mean, come to think of it, that was a pretty sensitive comment for a guy. Hmmm... excuse me, I gotta go check something...

InTheFastLane said...

What a tough day. I have no idea what words would have come out of my mouth. I will hope for the best for both of these mothers-to-be.

Manic Mommy said...

Twenty-four clearly knows of what she speaks. I will take her advice to heart as well. Prayers for both your friends and their babies.

slouching mom said...

Oof. Late to this, but I hope (and expect) that your visit brought her some measure of comfort.

She (and her baby) will be in my thoughts.

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2KoP said...

When my mom was very ill, she said the best gift she got was from a friend with six kids who said: "I want to help, but I have limited time. Tell me the one thing you need done that you can't even ask your husband to do for you. I will do anything." People want to help, but they often don't know what will be helpful.

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