Help me help my friend through her dad's death.
September 4, 2006 9:00 AM Subscribe
My friend's father just died after a very short battle with cancer. My friend's sometimes a little unstable. What can I do?
posted by MeetMegan to Human Relations (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My best friend called me at 4:00 this morning to tell me her dad had passed away. She was completely unemotional and I think she actually may be in shock. Her dad had been fighting melanoma for the last few months. On Friday, the doctor told her and her mother that there wasn't anything more they could do for her dad and that they'd keep him comfortable in the hospital. She didn't visit him much this weekend as she actually just opened her first restaurant on Wednesday. Luckily, the restaurant was closed on Sunday and she was able to spend all day and most of the evening with him. The hospital sent her family home at midnight, and her mother received a call at around 3:00 this morning asking her to bring the family back. Her father had already died, peacefully, in his sleep.
My friend and I had about a ten-minute conversation early this morning, when I asked a few questions about how her dad died and gathered the information above. She says she's perfectly fine and doesn't need to talk. I told her I'd check in with her later today and that she should call me if she needs anything.
My concern is that my friend tends to repress her emotions and later jump off the deep end, so to say. Her last four breakups have been difficult - she says she's fine for about two weeks and then completely breaks down and says she's worthless and starts talking about why she's around to begin with and no one loves her. She never threatens to hurt herself but I know she has thought about it (when she gets over her depression, she says things like, "I'm so glad I didn't do what I was thinking...").
So, if she does that with a dating relationship (and one of her worst episodes was after a four-week relationship), how is she going to handle her father's death?
Some background which may help:
She and I met when we stood up in a wedding together about four years ago. She and I hit it off immediately and were fast friends. We're both in our late 20's. She often says I am her only friend and no one else understands her. She recently stopped talking to our mutual friend (the bride) because she felt that the bride didn't care about her life. She's a restaurateur and opened up her own restaurant on Wednesday of this week. Her parents missed the opening for obvious reasons. I was there and she seemed the happiest I've seen her in a few years.
She relies a lot on me for support (I'm her first call when she breaks up with someone, and pretty much everyday thereafter through the time she breaks down, and then I have to call her everyday). I was the first call she made today, and I know she is relying on me a lot to help her through this.
She and I had talked a lot through this difficult time as my father has had very serious cancer for the last four years (the entire time I've known her). I know she expected her father's illness would progress much like my father's - a terrible diagnosis, lots of chemo, and a lot of "beating the odds" and surprising doctors. Unfortunately, that's not the way it went. She has already told me that it's not fair that my dad has had his medical successes and her dad hasn't.
I'm placed in this awkward situation where she both wants to talk to me and hate me. I don't know what to say or what to do to help her through this. I turn to you. Is there anything I can do to make sure she handles this as healthily as she can? What sorts of questions can I ask and things can I say to help her through this?