Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Seriously Ill Staff Member - Help what do I write


SueJ
 Share

Recommended Posts

I really don't know how to start a letter to a member of my staff -

 

We are a small staff team (9 of us in total) and in September took on our 9th staff member a young (mid twenties) member of staff. A couple of weeks ago she was taken ill with suspected gall stones and has been off since the end of Feb as she hasn't been getting any better - today her dad came in to give me an update.

 

It has now been discovered that she has an aggressive form of breast cancer and has probably had it for over 12 months (v. large tumour deep and therefore undetected) and cancer has spread to other organs.

 

It has been truly awful having to tell the rest of my team and there have been tears all round - we are all so devastated for her and her family (she is also recently married) especially as she is so young.

 

I really feel and want to write to her to offer our love and support not just as her boss and work colleague but as one human being to another but how on earth do I begin - I keep going round in circles and everything I draft in my head sounds so trite.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh dear. :(

Well, although you're not sure what to write you know her better than we do so this is what I'd do ifit was one of my friends

Dear ...

I saw your dad.

We need you to know that we're here for anything you might need, laughing, cake, silence, pampering, screaming, wine, shopping, ironing, gardening, cooking, crying, walks.

I'm going to call round on ...day to see how you are. You dont have to see me but I'll come back if you dont.

All our love

Sue and ...

 

Such a terrible thing isnt it, cancer. So devious and secretive and silent. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Rea - it has given me some really good pointers - and you are so right about it being devious, secretive and silent - up until a couple of weeks ago she was a picture of health and vitality :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Sue

As someone who had had my fair share of very serious illness in the past few years, this is what has helped me:

 

I wanted to feel connected with the world..I didnt really care what people talked about (whether by email or face to face), I just happy to I know how things were for them. I wanted people to share their good news and their bad.

 

I hated it when people choose to say nothing rather than something, and for me anyway, it didn't really matter what the 'something' was, as long as it err 'something'. Even if it seems trite to you, it isn't.

 

I appreciated being asked 'How are you doing?' as it reminded me that people care at a time that is very painful, emotionally, physically, mentally. It sounds so simple doesnt it, but it really does make a difference. Especially if you take time ti listen to the answer.

 

Offers of help are appreciated, but often not taken up, but don't stop offering. They might not need anything just now, but may do next week, next month, next year.

 

Im sure others have other things they have found helpful..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was ill many years ago I refused all the offers of help, saying it was fine, I can do it. What I really wanted was someone to just do it, take over and ignore my refusals.

I didnt want to talk about what had happened, 20 years later I've told one friend once, I overheard hubby telling someone once and moved away from them. Your friend might not want to talk about what she's going through, but I bet she'll still welcome your presence and your friendship. Its a 'play by ear' situation really. Do you know her husband, could you talk to him about things she might like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the lovely advice Mundia - I appreciate it - sadly this is not new to me as my mum had breast cancer (thankfully 5 years clear now) but it is a different emotional journey when it is a work colleague and also when it is one so young - as a setting we have just come to terms with supporting a family (2 children with us) where a young mum passed away just a few months ago and one of our youngsters who left only a couple of years ago is currently in the States having specialist radiotherapy following a brain tumour. My staff team are fantastic (they are sometimes a complete pain too :rolleyes: ) but I think we are all beginning to feel as though we are reeling from one emotional roller coaster to another at the moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rea

 

As my colleague has only been with us since September we don't really know her family well - just bits and pieces about jobs etc. Her dad held it together well today but couldn't help talk about how polaxed they all feel and you could almost feel his loss for their future hopes and dreams as parents (and potential grandparents) and the collective guilt the family feel at the moment (grandparents in their 70s hale and hearty) for being alive and well - we so feel for them - such a shitty shitty time :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just be YOU, she will appreciate that you care. Offer the help and support that you can honestly give....don't make promises you can't keep. Let her know that the whole team is thinking of her. It IS a shitty time and I understand the feelings of loss her family will be experiencing and the guilt too. It's the despair............wanting desparately to be able to make her well, to swap places with her if they only could, anything to take the physical and the mental pain away. Mundia's advice is sound, keep offering the help, keep asking how things are ( preparing yourself too, for the fact that actually things may not be good). I wish your colleague well, I hope the team looking after her can keep her pain free and give her quality time with her family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When one of my staff was dying, the children made her a great big card and all made their mark inside and we stuck tiny pictures of them next to their names. She couldn't have visitors in hospital so I used to write her a daily blog with pics for her partner to take in. She had been at my side for eighteen years and is till turn to tell her things!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Biker

I think there has been fanatstic advice given here. I am sure whatever you choose to write your support will shine through.

Sending you and all your team hugs . Look after yourselves.x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your help - I have decided that the most practical thing we can do at the moment is send a card offering our love and support and a meaty Itunes voucher for her ipad so that she can download favourite music, tunes and maybe some movies for when she is having her chemo treatment programme over the next few months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)