How to support my friend as she's losing her mother?
In tenth grade, my one of my best friend’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. It’s not something we often talked about, because she liked to put on a brave face and push it out of her mind.
Now, after two years of fighting, I’ve learned that they’ve called in hospice, who have determined that she has about a month left to live. As I am only eighteen years old and this is my first experience of this sort, I don’t know what I can do to be there for my friend.
She texted some of her old friends who she’s since grown apart from to tell them to come visit her mother (her mother was a close friend to all of us; she was just that sort of person) because she only has a month left. She never officially told me about it; I heard from her little sister (whom I’m also friends with) and I’m not sure if she knows I know. I don’t know if she wants me to know.
Today, I brought it up in a round-about way, also so she wouldn’t guess that I knew about the month estimate (“Your ex-best friend told me she wanted to visit your mom and asked me to come along so she wouldn’t feel awkward.”) and I figured that would give her an opportunity to talk about it if she wanted. She promptly changed the subject to the movie she watched in German that day. I replied in kind, with an anecdote about a movie I was watching in another class, taking the change in topic as a sign that she didn’t want to talk about her mom, and managed to make her laugh.
I feel bad. On one hand, I wish she had told me about her mom, especially since she told people she wasn’t even friends with anymore, but on the other hand, I can understand how she wouldn’t want to talk about it, and then I feel bad for wishing she’d told me. I want her to feel like she can come to me if she wants to, but I don’t know how I can tell her that without accidentally saying something wrong.
I’ve never had the experience of a close friend losing a loved one, especially one so close to them, so I’m totally at a loss of what to do. Should I invite her to hang out to take her mind off things? Should I give her some space, so she can spend as much time with her mom as she can in this month? Or should I just wait to take my cue from her, like before?
I want to be supportive! I just don’t know how. Any advice-any at all- would be greatly appreciated.
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