Dear Friend, you asked me how you can help one of your best friends who is dying. Here is my advice.
THOUGHTS – One reason it is so difficult is she is near your age. It causes you to realize your own vulnerability !! Be aware of that.
Know the five stages of grief BECAUSE not only will she be going through those stages but so will YOU !!! Where are you in the grief stages as related to her?
1.DENIAL --- What's the first thing you do? You try to start it again! And again. You may check to make sure the radio, heater, lights, etc. are off and then..., try again.
2.ANGER --- "%$@^##& car!", "I should have junked you years ago." Did you slam your hand on the steering wheel? I have. "I should just leave you out in the rain and let you rust."
3.BARGAINING --- (realizing that you're going to be late for work)..., "Oh please car, if you will just start one more time I promise I'll buy you a brand new battery, get a tune up, new tires, belts and hoses, and keep you in perfect working condition.
4.DEPRESSION --- "Oh God, what am I going to do. I'm going to be late for work. I give up. My job is at risk and I don't really care any more. What's the use".
5.ACCEPTANCE --- "Ok. It's dead. Guess I had better call the Auto Club or find another way to work. Time to get on with my day; I'll deal with this later."
1.Be there for HER. Your making dinner and helping her is the most important thing. SHE KNOWS SHE CAN DEPEND ON YOU. Help her with little things she can not do for herself.
2.Listen between the lines to what she is saying. Pick up on the small things, like what are her main fears/problems she has to deal with. Can you help her understand any of those?
3.Cry with her. Tell her you will miss her.
4.Most important: Tell her you love her.
NOTE: This is not easy. One of my best friends died of AIDS. He caught it as a hemophiliac and left 3 young kids. Before he died I remember telling him (crazy as this may seem), “Mike, when you get to heaven sent me a sign to let me know everything is OK.!!!”
I was teaching in Glorietta, New Mexico, when I heard he died. I made plans to fly back and preach his funeral.
Being so far away, I was not only distraught, but sort of feeling left out from the family etc. That night I skipped the evening worship service and went and sat down on a high place on campus to pray and cry.
After a few minutes, I looked up and there was a full rainbow that went from one part of the sky to another. There was no doubt in my mind, that was "Mike’s Rainbow." I shared that experience at the funeral and an artist drew a beautiful print of that rainbow and gave to his widow. It still remains on her wall as a reminder.
Special things can happen during this time. Just BE AWAKE to the unexpected.
My prayers go with both of you. You will make a beautiful difference in her life.