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What do I say to Sister with Terminal Cancer?

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by WillowBean, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. WillowBean

    WillowBean Approved members

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    I just learned that my step sister's breast cancer has spread throughout her body and the prognoses is bleak. She lives in another state and I plan to call her tonight but.... What do I say? Before we could talk about hope, treatments, fighting back, etc. Now, I don't know what to say. Any Advice? BTW she is also a T1D.
     
  2. DsMom

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    Oh, I am so sorry.:( I don't have any experience with this sort of thing, but, if it were me, I think I'd want to be asked what I need...what is the thing that person could do for me (near or far) that would help the most right now. It may be a sympathetic ear, it may be space and time for her to digest this information, it may be more practical things...perhaps she needs help finding someone to help around the house or help with childcare? Even though you are not nearby...perhaps you could place some calls for her? I would not assume at all what she needs...let her be the one to tell you. Some things many people might assume a person needs at times like these are not at all what that person needs...everyone is an individual.

    I suppose I would also want to hear that I was loved...even if this is obvious...and that the person speaking to me would be there for me through whatever there was to come. That the person would be there to support my family as well...now, and in whatever future might come. That would be especially important to me if I knew that I would not be with them much longer. I would want to know that my family would have help.

    Again, I am so sorry.:(
     
  3. sooz

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    Well said DSmom. I think that is really thoughtful advice. Willow I am so sorry about your sister. I know she would be the first to hope for you that you are mindful of being checked often yourself. We recently lost a family member for the same reason and it is heartbreaking.
     
  4. Becky Stevens mom

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    Keri, I am so very sorry about your sister:( Back when my Mom found out that her cancer had spread and she wasnt going to get better, we never discussed it. I wish we had, but I didnt know what to say either. I think all you can say right now is that you love her and how much she's added to your life by being part of it. She is probably working on coming to terms with her prognosis and may want to talk about it with you or may need more time. I would just let her know that you are always there for her to talk to anytime
     
  5. WillowBean

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    Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate.
     
  6. Jacob'sDad

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    Wow, I'm so sorry.:( I know one of the things I always regretted when my Dad was dying is that I never talked to him about great memories, great times we had, things he had done for me that made me who I was, etc.

    We also didn't really talk about what my future would be like. Like, what would be happening in my life after he was gone. I don't think I wanted to remind him of all the things he would be missing (I was 21 BTW), but at the same time I think it would have meant a lot to him to think that my life would carry on and in some ways he would live on through me.

    I figure the only thing I will really leave behind when I leave this world is the impact I have had on others. I hope I make a difference. I hope when I am dying people tell me I HAVE made a difference.
     
  7. LJM

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    I remember our pastor gave a talk on this topic once and he quite simply said one thing that has stuck with me. He said "I am sorry is a complete sentence."

    You can offer that and then listen, ask what you can do to help and then follow through on that.

    I am so sorry for what is happening with your sister. Be there---that is really enough.
     
  8. lizzie

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    I am so sorry that you and your sister are going through this. I would echo what Jacob's Dad said, make sure you talk about the special memories you have and the important impact she has had on you through the years. I lost both my parents when I was in college and I never got the opportunity to share those memories with them. I'm sure it would mean a lot to your sister to hear happy memories in a difficult time.
     
  9. Beach bum

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    First, I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this.

    I think the best thing you can do right now is be there for her. Ask her what she needs. I know when my friend was diagnosed with cancer, she apologized to me for not telling me sooner, but she didn't have the strength to tell her story over and over. You might want to ask her if there's anyone she wants to be alerted. I think most important is to let her know she is loved and that you are there for her.

    Again, I am very sorry.
     
  10. Snowbound

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    Having gone through cancer myself and nearly dying on the operating table I'd like to have something more profound to say, but you've already received a lot of good advice.

    I can say that when I was going through it I received calls from cousins and uncles that I normally see just a couple of times a year at familiy gatherings. Having them call to see how I was doing made me very very good, and I really appreciated it.
     

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