One of our members was a social worker. “If this happened to me,” she said, “I would set up a lawn chair outside her house until she would see me.” I take a different view.
When it comes to illness or or our own death, each of us has the right to call the shots. Our personal desires should guide our decisions on who we are going to see and when.
So what can you do when a loved one wants their privacy? You can respect it.
I know how hard this is because I have faced this same dilemma. You can’t know how a friend or loved one is feeling, physically or mentally, and you have to allow them their privacy. And you should let them spend their remaining days exactly as they wish.
What you can do is keep in touch without intruding. You can send a note or card, an email, flowers, or their favorite comfort food. Leave the door open by communicating that you would love to keep in touch and you would like to support them in any way.
As hard as it may be for you, do what they have asked. That’s one of the best gifts you can give them.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, available in ebooks for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.