This past week while waiting to start chemo, his daughter had a massive stroke and was rushed back to the hospital. From the short response to the message I sent him today, it sounds as though she isn't going to make it. He ended his message with "How do I say goodbye to her?"
I have no idea how to respond to this. I've learned a lot about empathy here on SI, and I'm crying right now thinking about what he and his family must be feeling, and what it would be like if it were one of our daughters. But I have absolutely no idea what to say...
Offer your support..and friendship. Im not sure what else.
You're very kind to want to find the "right words." I just don't think there are any.
..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.
Do not back up. Severe tire damage.
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
Even so....I think my response simply would have been:
With a father's love.
"At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost." -- Tad...from Craig's List
"I'm so, so sorry".
Laughter will cure life's ills. Have you had your laugh today?
And MovingForward's comments about telling someone it is ok for them to go and be at peace...it is so, so true. I lost both my parents within 9 months of each other and they were both always very protective of me since I am an only child. At the very end, I knew they were hanging on just for me so I told each of them it was ok to go and be with those they loved who went before them and that I loved them and would miss them very very much, but I'd be ok and it was ok to go. Both passed away peacefully within moments of me uttering those words to them. I truly believe this is important to tell someone who is ready to go except for haning on for loved ones.
I have to be honest and say that is the most difficult question I've ever been asked... And I really just have no idea. It's not something that any of us ever expect to do; It's not something we rehearse throughout our lives in the event that such a situation arises. When we're kids daydreaming about the future this is not on the list of fantasies. This is the kind of thing you try to block out, horrified that it even crept into your thoughts. Nobody can be prepared for it. You're going to have to figure it out for yourself, unfortunately. But you do have a LOT of people ready to help you through on the other side of all of this, myself included.