Jump to content

Need help on appropriate response....

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Ireckon

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:47 AM

I have just received a text from some one I have known for 20 odd years. Not close, but we text every once in a while, chat on FB etc. Anyway, the text basically said this person has a terminal medical issue, and has only months left. I don't know how to respond to this, I don't want it to sound pitying or trite, or play it down. This person is married with kids.

I keep writing something along the lines of 'very sorry to hear that' but it just doesn't seem like its enough. I can usually handle social etiquette well, but right now, today, I am a bit lost as to how to respond. I have never met their partner or kids, ( it's someone form early high school yrs).

Simple and to the point is the best here, right?

#2 Cranky Old Woman

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:51 AM

I would phone rather than text.

#3 emwill

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

Something along the lines of "Thinking of you and your family, if you need anything just let me know".
Definitely a hard one sad.gif

#4 Rachaelxxx

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

That really is terrible news, I would call them, I know that wouldn't be an easy thing to do.

#5 LittleRB

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

Don't worry about 'along the lines'... just say what you feel. "I'm devastated to hear this news. Would love to come and see you. Is there anything I  can do, want to be there for you if i can".

I would agree a phone call is nicer but considering they sent you a text with the news, I assume they may not be up for phone calls. Sometimes it's easier to discuss things via text as you have time to compose a response rather than break down during a phone call.

So sorry to hear about your friend OP.

#6 Ireckon

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

QUOTE (Mo2k @ 18/01/2013, 10:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's terrible news. Can you not call them instead of texting?

I understand this, but 100% of our contact has been via FB/SMS, so to ring now feels odd as well. Plus I just got another text saying how they hate that everyone keeps ringing to say how are you doing today. So am going to go with the text, let me know if there is anything you need. I usually try my best to keep a bit of humour (similar to Pacey from Dawsons Creek in the last episode, anyone??) and be open about the illness, rather than pretend its all ok.

It's also ( selfish response here ) confronting that someone my age, with a family and all, is going to die.

#7 MrsWidget

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:04 AM

I'm so sorry, I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. I'm here if you need anything, even just an ear.

#8 tres-chic

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:10 AM

I'm sorry OP, that is devastating news.

Based on your update, if the person really is being bombarded I'd go back with a text saying 'I'm so sorry, can I call you, perhaps later if that would be best? I am 100% here if you need me and again, I am so sorry.'

It's very hard to respond to a message like that in 75 characters or less so if it were me I'd save those sentiments for when you do speak, on the phone or in person.

#9 belinda1976

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

I wouldn't text her back, but if you don't feel comfortable calling perhaps send your friend a card or letter telling them you are thinking of them.

Sorry to hear about your friend.

#10 **Xena**

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

Maybe just be a honest. Maybe something like "I don't know what to say but I am so sorry to hear that. I am here if you need any help or support. Thinking of you and your family"

#11 Chelli

Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

I'd be honest with how much the situation sucks sad.gif

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, it certainly is confronting when things like that happen to people the same age as you.

#12 JustBeige

Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (**Xena** @ 18/01/2013, 12:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe just be a honest. Maybe something like "I don't know what to say but I am so sorry to hear that. I am here if you need any help or support. Thinking of you and your family"

I would do something like this too.

They have made a point of telling you via text that the phone calls are bothering them, so dont add to it by calling (even if you want to).

Just send a text once a week or something, with "you're in my thoughts. xx" type messages.

When my friend had cancer last year, she often said these messages were the best as she could read them over and over again.

I also agree with sending a gift or card of some sort.

#13 Lyra

Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

After we got my son's diagnosis the best responses were the ones acknowledging the total sh*ttiness of the situation. I got really, really annoyed with people that questioned whether or not the diagnosis was actually correct, people who kept going on and on about 'medical advances' etc etc

I agree with messages every now and again with 'thinking of you' is a good one

I am sorry your friend is going through this

#14 Tall Poppy

Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

I would acknowledge how crap it is an then offer help or that you're up for a chat if need be.

I would text as it ma be too much for the person to handle at the moment to tal on the phone but, perhap suggest in the text that you can call if they'd like or they can call you wnenever needed.

I'm sorry you received such terrible news, OP.

#15 epl0822

Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:11 PM

One of the best advice I've received regarding similar situations is that it's ok to acknowledge you don't even know what to say in such a terrible situation. It's not your initial response that they will remember, but your continued actions afterwards.

#16 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

I had a similar situation a few years back.  My first response was a text along the lines of
"Crap, I didn't expect the news of your last message.  I don't know what to say - nothing I say is going mean much in the face of what you're going through.  I am so sorry to hear that. I am here if you need any help or support. I would like to help - you are a good mate, you mean a lot to me.  I'll call you in a few days (won't that shock you?!)" or something like that  (I could have even started it off with "****! ...."

And I did.  I called her about a week later (selfishly, it gave me time to process it all a bit before speaking with her).  First time I'd spoken to her directly in over 15 years.  I couldn't help much - she lived interstate.  But she was stoked that I called.  And she was glad I didn't called immediately - she'd sent out quite a few similar texts that day and was drowning under all the calls that happened within 24 hours afterwards.  Breaking the news to people is very hard.

Just be honest - you are shocked by her news, it's crappy news, you can't imagine how she is feeling, you are thinking of her and her family.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 18 January 2013 - 02:20 PM.

#17 Jax12

Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

I think Yoda's example is excellent.  I'd probably also start it with an f bomb because that would be my honest reaction and I think that's the best approach.

What an awful situation.  Don't feel bad for your "selfish" response.  My friend's father was diagnosed with lung cancer (non smoker) and my first thought was that I was glad that it wasn't happening to my family.  I was shocked and ashamed that that thought appeared so immediately.

#18 MummyHILI

Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

I agree with Lyra, after we lost our girls there were times were I didn't want advice, I just wanted someone to say to me that is bs and totally unfair that you lost your girls.

I would probably write something along the lines of;

I am so sorry to hear your news.  I know that there is nothing I can say or do to make this any easier for you and your family but I just want to let you know you are in my thoughts (and prayers).  Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

I am really sorry that you are facing this situation op.

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Kourtney Kardashian goes nude for art

We've all done some pretty radical things after a big break-up, but Kourtney Kardashian has gone one better.

Video shows babies 'singing' to music in the womb

A new study has shown that babies may actually be able to hear from as early as 16 weeks – 10 weeks earlier than was commonly thought.

Prevent pelvic pain with pre-pregnancy exercise: study

Women who want to stave off aches and pains in pregnancy should exercise regularly before they conceive, experts say.

Dad's hilarious blog about life with twins

A stand-up comedian in the UK has plenty of new material since becoming a dad to twin boys.

Dinosaur products for babies and toddlers

Dinosaurs are one of those classic childhood crazes. We've put together a host of products for dinosaur-mad parents, babies and toddlers.

Restaurant manager sticks up for noisy baby

A mum was left upset by a note from neighbouring diners saying her screaming baby had ruined their dinner.

His name is Cayden: Mum and social media hit back after racist Facebook attack

When a man posted a selfie with a co-worker's son to Facebook, it became a magnet for racist comments.

Join the Real Mums Test Drive Team

Five new mums will join the Essential Baby Test Drive Team and discover great new baby toys from Fisher-Price & write a review to be published on Essential Baby.

The Chinese tradition for new mums that can now cost $37,000 a month

Opulent rest time is becoming the gold standard in postpartum recovery, inspired by a Chinese confinement custom known as "sitting the month".

How the media can shape our decisions when it comes to labour

We all like to think that we make our choices in fair, reasoned and well-thought out ways. Not many of us would admit that we allowed the media to influence us in our life choices.

Mum told to express in pet relief area at airport

A woman who flew from Boston to Washington says staff with United Airlines at Washington's Dulles Airport suggested she pump her breast milk in the pet-relief area.

Heartbreak as mum dies and her baby chokes to death

An Australian woman living in the US collapsed and died while feeding her baby, who then choked to death on his food. 

The hidden mental health illness of anxiety

Anxiety took over Robyn Read's life to such an extent she could not even buy the groceries and felt suicidal.

Two children fall from second storey window

Two young boys have been rushed to hospital after falling out a second-storey window of a home in Eastwood.

Mum gives birth to India's heaviest baby

An Indian woman has given birth to a baby boy weighing a whopping 5.97kg, setting a new record for the country's heaviest baby.

Grandma surprised with brand new granddaughter

Finding out you’re going to be a grandmother can be a very emotional moment. Finding out that you’re a grandmother and the baby is already here is just out of this world.

Saltwater Sandals for babies and toddlers

Many mamas are wearing Saltwater Sandals - why not buy them for your babies and toddlers too?

How to spring clean your body and mind

Whether you're pregnant, already a mum, or are just trying to be a bit more healthy, there are ways to use the rejuvenating season to give yourself a boost.


What's hot on EB

Stella McCartney honours mum with lacy bra

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has honoured her late mum, Linda McCartney, by designing a special bra for post-mastectomy patients.

Don't panic: A granddad midwife's guide for dads-to-be

Mark Harris has helped deliver 500 babies. And he's now telling fathers what to expect.

How to be a calm parent when you're feeling anything but

Being a calm parent takes a lot of work, sometimes more than is obvious to those around us.

The joy and isolation of being a stay-at-home dad

It's cool, kind of like a second childhood. I love him to bits and think, on average, I'm an okay dad. But I also want to talk about the other stuff.

How baby Teddy's short life is helping save thousands of lives

He may have only lived for 100 minutes, but that didn't stop baby Teddy from saving the lives of others.

A heartbreaking trail of missed chances in death of baby forgotten in car

A haunting reminder to stay mindful about babies in cars, especially as we approach summer.

What to do if your baby has tongue-tie

Tongue-tie can cause feeding problems. However once it is diagnosed, the condition can be easily treated.

How to move house without losing your mind

Some people move frequently, while others like to stay put. But everyone finds it stressful.

'She had nowhere to go': how new mum's life began to unravel

The birth of her first child should have been happiest of times for Campsie mother Phuong Cao, but friends say it marked the beginning of when her life began to unravel. 

Women giving birth to a son keep some of his Y chromosomes

It was an experiment doomed to failure - they were looking for male cells in female bodies. And their search was stunningly successful.

Photos: How babies fit in the womb

A gorgeous photo series shows babies in the first hours after their birth - as they were positioned in the womb.

Baby tries to persuade stubborn bulldog to walk, fails

We don't know what he's saying, but this baby has a very clear message for his bulldog pal: let's walk - NOW.

The best toddler gift ever? Nine gender-neutral play kitchen picks

Without a doubt, one of the best gifts for a toddler turning two or three is a play kitchen.

9 easy steps to improve your baby photography

With a few simple tips you can take your images from random happy snaps to lovely clean images that create beautiful lasting memories.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.