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Do we announce the fact that a clsm is dying?

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 08/15/10 11:23 PM Views: 2718 Replies: 15
Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Fellow Admins,

One of my classmates, 'bill' emailed me that he heard from another classmate, 'joe' { so this is accurate info, but 'second hand' to me } that 'joe' finally got in touch with the wife of his old buddy, "dick". Unfortunately, the wife tells us that 'dick' was just diagnosed with advanced Lung Cancer, and has 2-3 weeks to live.

'bill' wants & says 'joe' agrees that they want me to let the rest of the class know about this as 'joe' is traveling to see 'dick' and thinks others may want to make some contact with 'dick'. We had 'dick's' contact info, but he never joined the site.

In my grief work, I know that some do not want the fact that they are dying to be public knowledge, but some would be energized by the contacts of old friends.

I am not is a position to ask 'Dick' or his wife for their permission to share this. I could ask 'bill' to ask 'joe' to ask the wife for permission ........

..... well, you see the delimma. What are the privacy, ethics, etc for this in class website land?

I would appreciate any feekback, please.

Thanks, and blessings, N

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:49 AM - Response #1


I recently had a very similar situation and just asked a fellow classmate (who is on our reunion planning committee) to do the "honors" if he wouldn't mind. He did and reported back that the spouse definitely did not any contact from anyone. That took care of that.

Another concern that I would have is if this "report" is truly accurate. We've had classmates who have held a grudge for decades, report so and so just died only to come to find out the person is still very much alive.

I think I would err on the side of caution, at least until someone other than Joe, Bill or Dick can provide a more definitive report on what the wife wishes.

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:58 AM - Response #2

Hi John!

Yes, that is my thinking exactly. I have emailed the two guys saying that we need the family's permission to share this info. But I was interested in hearing if others had run into this, and how it was handled.

So I appreciate your feedback - Thanks!

Btw: Hopefully you are in receipt of my other email, albeit, tardy. Blessings, N

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:44 AM - Response #3

My opinion is that personal direct contact (not third party) with the family to determine their wishes is of the utmost importance. The Families wishes should control what info is shared and when.

General prayer concerns can usually be shared and are usually appreciated (this has been the case with our three classes). Abe

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM - Response #4

Hi Abe,

Yes, you have a good point about it being best for ME to do the contacting of the family to determine their wishes. I see from what I wrote that was not clear.

I do not recall 'dick' from school, sad to say. I was in the process of thinking this thru, when I posted the topic { time seemed not on anyone's side ), and I was trying to think of a way to explain why I was contacting them. Btw, one of the guys has since spoken to me and he actually has had phone contact with the wife.

He will call and mention that I will be calling, etc. Plus, silly, but it may lend some credibility that I am on the Alumni Board of Directors, perhaps.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Abe! Blessings, N

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:57 AM - Response #5

As this is a hard one, I would put in prayer. Like your class of 64 and mine of 68, we are no longer teenagers in High school anymore (a time at best when we had no fears of dying - life was just beginning for us.) I had to adopt a rule at posting someone to the ‘Memory’ section because I fell in a trap in the early days of posting one of our classmates, only to find He had breakfast with another good friend of mine and though he laughed it off – I was devastated. So it has become our policy that no one is entered in the “Memory’ Section until the name is verified. 1) By an Obituary. 2) By two or more that are willing to go on record as to the account. 3) A family member’s account (that they approve the class notification. Unless otherwise notified by the family we do not put the cause of death – I find this in some cases as just wrong – that just knowing we lost someone who has passed and no longer with us is to me enough. If another wants or feel they need details I refer them to the family.
Now on to yours, before I posted anything I would get with the wife or parents and request that you would like to report him/her as being in ill health so they class could correspond with him, to let him/her know that someone still cares and encourage his/her recovery. Regardless that they may only weeks left is in material.

I hope this helps...

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:01 AM - Response #6

Hi Terry,

I'm glad you brought up this point. I see that my rather rushed initial inquiry left a lot open for comment,

But, yes, I agree with what you are saying regarding the information { once verified } that 'dick' supposedly only has 2-3 weeks of life left should NEVER be stated.

First of all, NO ONE knows that but God. Countless terminal patients have lived beyond these 'life determinent quotas', given for various reasons { some appropriate if asked for by the patient }, but many have a terribly negative discouraging effect on patients and/or families.

The message - if appropriately authenticated, and permission granted - should simply be as you suggest, some reference to a serious illness, etc.

Thanks for taking the time to make that point more clear! That's why I love these forum threads, because one never knows when these comments may be just the thing someone is looking for!

Appreciate everyone's caring enough to write in! N

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:55 AM - Response #7

I did all this, contacted the wife of a classmate who as yet has serious cancer and may not make it much longer.

The wife wanted contacts from classmates, and the seriously ill classmate wanted contacts. I talk to him by phone monthly, and he continues excited to come to our September 25 reunion, though he may very well be frail.

Your premise that other classmates might contact the ill classmate and his family, is where it went amiss. I found that my Class of 1960 just shy away from illness and the terminability of life. Started a special forum, they won't even wish prayers. Made an announcement that the family would appreciate contacts; they won't even call. I think when you reach a certain age, sometimes you don't want to be reminded of death.

However, all I could do is try, and pass the wishes of the family. I SURE wouldn't have done any of this without the classmate family permission. But, now I feel concerned for the family that people don't follow through.

Edited 08/16/10 9:57 AM
Monday, August 16, 2010 at 11:25 AM - Response #8


This is indeed a rather touchy subject, and all of the input here is excellent in my modest opinion.
Because of another ‘issue’ that we had come up in the early days of the site, I have a page that states many of my ‘rules of thumb’ on many things we do and do not do on the site.
This page, entitled ‘Admins Only’ is viewable only to the admins on our site – who knows what will happen to me today, and others will be able to see IN PRINT just how many things are handled. As we get older, who wants to rely on our memory?
Thank you, as you have brought up another topic for me to add to the page.
I sent up a little prayer for your classmate. [Hope they won’t mind a Jewish prayer in their behalf.]

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:55 PM - Response #9

I've listed all the deceased classmates in our In Memory category. I've not had any issues with it. I'd hope it could be laughed off if a report was erroneous. All of mine have been confirmed by my own memory or a newspaper account. Obituaries remain 'public' knowledge, by being in a newspaper and in their archives. I don't see ever having a REAL problem out of it. My site is exclusive to classmates only. Recently a daughter of a deceased classmate asked to be added and I did add her as a 'guest'. She wanted to be in contact with his past friends.
Last year my bff was having a cancer episode. I was able to ask her directly if she wanted to remain private or ? She chose 'or' and was so glad she did. It brightened her day to receive cards and hear from past classmates that have moved away. She's now in remission. She continues to let me know how great it was to hear from people. We just had a joint "60" birthday party on Saturday and she was able to thank many in person.

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:01 PM - Response #10

Derrell, that is really sad and so selfish! Maybe they're more ashamed that they had not kept better contact or fear the person doesn't remember them. Believe me, it doesn't matter. Just a call or even a card brightens their days left. I think a lot of people are puzzled as to what kind of card to send or what message to put inside. I know I am at times. Does anyone have any suggestions as to messages to write?

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:17 PM - Response #11

WEB MASTER - 68-73 wrote:

...I have a page that states many of my ‘rules of thumb’ on many things we do and do not do on the site. This page, entitled ‘Admins Only’ is viewable only to the admins on our site – who knows what will happen to me today, and others will be able to see IN PRINT just how many things are handled...

Steve - would you be willing to share that information with us here? Sounds like a great idea.

Since it's an Admin only access, you could copy the content to an Announcement, click on VIEW (but not ACTIVE) and capture the link to the VIEW and post the link here.



Monday, August 16, 2010 at 7:48 PM - Response #12

Hi Nancee!
Hope that by now you have an "answer" with all the wisdom of the admins that offered their excellent viewpoints!
Although none of us know when we are to die, if a situation comes to our immediate attention that could be made "better" with some of our input or attention, then I feel we are "called" to be those "angels in disguise"!
You have been blessed with insights and options, and an ability to reach out and call. There may be some resistance on any level, but you really can't go wrong by just asking. You could also post a "blurb" or suggestion on a type of "Sunshine Corner"or page that might offer others a chance to reach out.
Many are not comfortable with their own mortality, and very uncomfortable with their friends and loved ones facing a moment of crisis or need!
Your "gifts" and your skills/profession put you in a unique position to offer others the chance. Although we can not "force" anyone to act, we can encourage, prompt and give them the chance. If they take the opportunity, all will experience the Blessing. If not,then God will still take care of the rest.
But in the meantime, I think the "Golden Rule" is always in order. One never knows when one's act of simple thoughtfulness or kindness may be "Just what the doctor ordered!"
Another chance to remind everyone that we will all be in need of the encouragement of our friend(s) at some point in all of our lives!
Go with your heart and your gut instinct! We don't always get "do-overs" and "death" is a part of "life"! If we can offer any encouragement along the road, we should do it...!
Thanks for looking out for others in your "circle"!

No regrets, or as few as possible...

p.s. Sadly, we had a classmate help facilitate her own demise just weeks before the reunion. She was exactly the type of person that i had in mind when i set out on the web site project, one who might need just one friend to make a huge difference in her life and future. When i called her a week before she died, she hung up on me, stating it wasn't a "good time"...then i left a message the same day that she died. Her "friends" hadn't been in contact with her for years, in spite of constant reminders.
It's what is left unsaid that often hurts the most and causes the most regrets. At least give your comrades a chance to reach out. Pain is what helps us all "grow"! Most are afraid of it, as you know! But Life is indeed Short, and each Day is still a Gift!
We are to make a difference while we can!
Thanks for being there for those in need!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 1:06 AM - Response #13

Well ...... I am {uncharacteristically} at a loss for words ...(temporarily) :0)

I decide to check in, to see, if by chance, there were any more postings, and what do I find? An over-pouring of fellow Admins' heart-felt efforts to reach out and share about something that resonated with each of you.

I'll admit that I had pretty much made up my mind what course I was going to take with this situation; but I kept getting 'that nudge' to post the subject. I see now why. This is an important topic that needed massaging by some sensitive souls. I'm really touched by all the feedback that has been shared. I felt a warm glow that each of you took the time to 'touch back' to my concern. I want to remember that feeling, because it would be easy to just be a "taker" on these Forums. I want to remember to take the time to post a response so that others may experience that special warmth. Thanks for reminding me.

This isn't the place to 'Thank you' all, as I would prefer, but let me say this to:

Darrell: What you shared was very important, and I feel your feelings of 'responsibility',(maybe?) But, Kris, is right -- you did your part, that piece that was yours to do. So, 'let it go', and trust that it will pass on to the next, to do their 'link in the chain'. You did just the right thing.

Sandi: Your comments were so helpful; it's easy to see that you have a deep well of caring for others - thanks for sharing!

Steve: Now I hope that the comment about "Jewish Prayer" was made 'tongue-in-cheek', for I suspect you know, as I do, that Prayers are a "one stop shop" ~~ they all get to Heaven. And I have a sneaking suspicion that God is smart enough to know how to make Himself manifest to all who sincerely seek Him, regardless or race, color, creed, etc. Your prayer is sincere and meaningful, and I have passed your comments on to a very receptive family. I admire your witness - thanks!

John Chidester: { one of our many Johnny C's :0) }, as always your faithful attendance to these Forums is so welcome -thanks for your energy.

Kris: My dear ( yet un-met) Soul Sister .............. I continue to be impressed with your gift for 'the Expression of Encouragement' -- you often leave me with 'goose bumps' or 'tears'! I admire your courage to consistently be a Witness. Your "You-Pebbles" have produced untold 'waves' of far reaching effects.

You know, guys, I often have to smile thinking of The Bradster, launching this business, and in his wizardly wisdom, knowing he had to set up a platform to address the 'technical' aspects of Website management. I doubt that he ever envisioned that this format would also serve to encompass " nomaplesyruphere", Mom's home cooking, prayers warriors for his Dad's health, and the incredible outpouring of unselfish caring people wanting to touch others in a positive way.

OK - Enuf! back to the techie stuff: How does this 'Spell Check' thing work, anyway?!

Thank you all! May God continue to Shine His Face upon You!!! Dr. Nancee Smile

Edited 08/17/10 1:14 AM
Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 1:56 AM - Response #14

We have gone through this a couple times. We checked with family members. one who is in stage 4 cancer now is eager for snail mail to set and reread. Just pivit around wht the family says to do. Keep it cheerful They may be dying, but uplift never hurt anyone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 1:59 AM - Response #15

If they are frail - use a wheel chair. We did this just last year. Worked beautifully. Those who could spent time with her. All were happy.

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