What To Do When A Good Friend Discloses Their Terminal Illness — Friendship
My question concerns how to handle a friend’s disclosure of their terminal illness.
A friend of mine wrote me (along with her other close friends) a letter announcing that she had a brain tumor and didn’t expect to be around at Christmas. At our garden club meeting, one of her other close friends, who happens to be the club president, got up in front of all the other members and announced the pending death of our absent friend.
Was the club president using correct etiquette by announcing her imminent death to members who hadn’t received the sad, sweet note? Or am I being overly sensitive? Shouldn’t the dying person have a modicum of control over who knows what when?
Thank you for your thoughtful question about how to handle the revelation of your good friend's terminal illness.
Being all for full disclosure (for the most part), I don't personally think it was a misstep by the president of the garden club to disclose a secret that would be outed as some point by Christmas.
- Is it possible that the terminally ill member gave her consent?
Why not suggest that the garden club organize a meal project and fill her calendar with volunteers bringing meals.
- Before doing so you would, of course, have to tell your terminally ill friend about your plan. Which means mentioning that the whole garden club knows about her brain tumor.
You might find that she welcomes the ultra short visits from her garden club comrades.
- Just be sure that you have a list of her favorite foods as well as those she dislikes.