View Full Version : Ethical question

September 8th, 2016, 10:34 AM
Not sure if ethical is the right word, maybe more of a personal dilemma. It's kind of a long story so bear with me.

Several years ago my Dh and I had friends we'll call them Don and Cathy. DH and Don had known each other for over 30 years, more of a friend of a friend thing. Don married Cathy and we became fairly close friends. Cathy had a very loud personality and definitely said anything and everything on her mind. She was very friendly and would do anything for you. She was the type of person either you really liked or couldn't stand.

Our kids were teenagers, early 20's during this time we were friends. During our oldest daughter's college graduation party, Cathy comes up and slaps my middle daughter's (age 19) back which was badly sunburned. She could easily see the sunburn and did it on purpose. My daughter asked her two times to stop but she continued to slap it thinking it was funny. Finally my daughter told her "If you slap my sunburn again, I'm going to slap you." Well, of course she did it again and my daughter slapped her in the face. She took major offense to my daughter slapping her and made a huge deal of it during the graduation party. Cathy wanted me to take sides and make my daughter apologize. I refused telling her it was between her and my daughter. My daughter did end up apologizing that day, but a more general apology, not directly for the slap, if that makes sense.

Our friendship wasn't the same after that. I honestly felt she deserved to get slapped(and finally told her that) and she felt she hadn't done anything wrong. Over the next several weeks she made lots of snide comments regarding the matter. I finally told her I was done discussing the matter, it was something we would never agree on and to please let it go. It didn't end. Every time we saw them she would find a way to get a nasty comment in and laugh it off so finally several months after the initial incident, I was done and told her I needed to end the friendship. She was very upset and from what I hear when into a depression. This was approximately 2 years ago and I haven't talked to her since. I have thought about her during that time and somewhat miss the friendship we had before everything happened. As a side note, my sister and my best friend never did like her (which tells me something). There were other small things that happened, but I didn't let them bother me because we were friends, I considered them a quirk of her personality. My DH and Don talked for a while afterwards, but their friendship fizzled after a couple of months. My DH made no effort but would be happy to talk to Don when he called.

I'm finally getting to my problem. Several months ago I heard she had cancer, thought about reaching out to her, but everyone advised against it. Yesterday I heard it's terminal, they are giving her 2 months to a year. I can't decide if I should try to reach out to her or not. I know I don't want to become friends again, because even sick I'm afraid she would cause drama. But I feel like a horrible person if I don't even acknowledge that I know she's sick. My family and friends say I should not contact her. To be honest I wonder if I just feel guilty for some reason and that's why I think I should. But I'm not sure what I feel guilty about. I think part of me is hoping if I connect with her she'll will finally admit she shouldn't have slapped my daughter's sunburn! Then I feel awful for still even being upset over something that happened so long ago.

If you managed to make it through, thank you and any ideas/opinions?

September 8th, 2016, 10:54 AM
Amazing what causes relationships to thrive and exist and then sometimes die out. I think "Cathy" erred and the relationship probably was never really good anyway. Since "don" and your husband were the ones who were the friends and you became friends with her as a couple, then DH could reach out to Don with his sympathy for the two of you. You don't need drama...so let it go...I know its hard...Don will need support after the fact and you can offer that at a later time...just don't bring up past drama.
I remember once during a political drama of the 90's...two of my close neighbors (and friends) were talking and I casually said that I didn't care what a man did on his own time but I couldn't abide him shaking his finger at me on the TV and lying to me. You know, they couldn't forgive me for that statement and I couldn't give up my principles. They are still my closest neighbors, but neither of them have spoken to me in 20 years. I had become a realtor and they blamed me for inflating the prices of land. (singlehandedly , lol) I discovered then that I wasn't a bleeding heart and I moved on.
I realize my story is not relevant to the cancer but, I just wanted you to know that even though we think of folks, sometimes it is better to not mingle. You can be sad for her illness, but nothing will change it. You are still feeling pain that she would hurt your daughter and try to make you take sides. You took your side and it was the right choice. Your daughter is the most important person in your life and she will always be there for you. AND, it was HER day that day. (graduation) Your acquaintance was jealous of your relationship and was trying to hurt you. Let it go.

September 8th, 2016, 10:57 AM
Your family and friends are right, and you need to step off the guilt train, since none of this was your fault. I feel you WILL be in for a whole world of recrimination from her if you try to be nice.

September 8th, 2016, 11:05 AM
I think it's awfully strange she was semi abusing your daughter and wouldn't stop when asked. I think I would send some flowers and a carefully written note, not about your friendship, but sorry for what she is going through. It will lift your guilt and you can move on.

September 8th, 2016, 11:06 AM
There are some people that are just toxic to have in our lives. I had someone in my life who, after many years of friendship, is now just an acquaintance. I wish them no ill will, nor am I angry, but I realize that this person was not someone who should be in my life. That's wisdom. We, as mama bears, always feel guilty when we can't 'FIX' something - especially relationships.
I agree with Terry, let your hubby take the lead on this one and reach out to the husband, offering support to both.

September 8th, 2016, 11:10 AM
You are so kind-hearted. My recommendation is this - Wish her well, pray for her (if you want) and send her a card/note or a gift basket if you so desire. You don't have to reconnect with her to wish her well.
Save your sanity.

September 8th, 2016, 11:19 AM
Hey. Lori.....

I have learned in the past two years that very close friends I had for more than twenty years have become non-existent just because of distance and "out of sight/out of mind", too busy....who knows what the legitimate reasoning is?

You could send a card, flowers, even throw together a small quilt or created gift you made with all your heart. Unfortunately, some people do not see how precious and little time is guarateed from day to day....since your former friend hasn't reached out to make amends? Let you hubby offer the empathy until it is somewhat an essence your former friend realizes what your friendship meant to you both. Then, reach out to her......let God lead your heart. sweetie!

September 8th, 2016, 11:26 AM
Hmmm, I see it from the other side. If I knew I was dying I would love to
hear from old friends. Maybe just a note saying you are praying for her.
You don't have to start a new friendship, but compassion is always a good thing.

September 8th, 2016, 11:45 AM
I agree with Hulamoon. If you want to send flowers or even a card just be careful how you word things. Just let her know you are thinking of her during this time. Don't open it up to anything else. You are in the right and if your family felt that way about her then you should read into that. You were right to defend your daughter. Good luck.

September 8th, 2016, 01:43 PM
I think it's awfully strange she was semi abusing your daughter and wouldn't stop when asked. I think I would send some flowers and a carefully written note, not about your friendship, but sorry for what she is going through. It will lift your guilt and you can move on.

I think Hulamoon offers very sage advice.

September 8th, 2016, 02:07 PM
Yes, do send a card. It is never wrong to offer compassion and do something kind for someone when it is in your power to do so. Many years ago, my in-laws lost some friends over the fact that my FIL could not bring himself to acknowledge or deal with my MIL's alcoholism. When my MIL died, the friends wrote my FIL a lovely letter saying that they had never stopped loving or praying for my in-laws. It touched my FIL deeply, and really healed a great hurt.

I would not wait for your former friend to pass; write the note now, while she can appreciate it. Then you can rest easy, knowing that you stood up for what was right regarding your daughter, but did not allow that to cut off your ability to be the kind and compassionate person you truly are.

September 8th, 2016, 02:13 PM
I am another vote for Hulamoon's advice. You are a good person. It will make your heart feel good to acknowledge her illness. You were super right to defend your daughter. I am not as nice, I would have asked her to leave the party.

September 8th, 2016, 02:36 PM
Whenever I am at a loss at what to do, I remind myself to do the right thing that my heart says to do. Then you can rest assured that you did the right thing, even if it is hard to do. I would send a card or flowers if that is what you choose. Just let her know you are sad about the now and don't even bring up anything else. Keep it short and sweet. If it progresses past that, you can cut it short or be busy or whatever.....not pursuing a friendship or relationship.....just aknowledge a past one.

September 8th, 2016, 04:03 PM
I would send a "thinking of you" card and let it go at that, don't bring up the past. Even if she doesn't appreciate it, it may mean a great deal to her husband.

cv quilter
September 8th, 2016, 04:26 PM
Hulamoon has wonderful advice. Send a card/flowers to let her know you are sorry for what she is experiencing. Both of you will feel better.

September 8th, 2016, 08:31 PM
Think how you will feel if she dies and you've done nothing. My advice would be to send a card, basket, flowers, anything to tell her you heard about her "news" and want her to know you're praying/thinking about her.

September 8th, 2016, 09:29 PM
You've been given good advice. It seems as though you really do want to acknowledge your ex-friend's illness. I totally can't understand why she slapped your obviously sunburned daughter, but if you send her a kind and carefully written note, you'll feel better yourself and know that you did what you think is the right thing.

September 8th, 2016, 10:03 PM
I agree with Sherri. A card, a note, maybe flowers or a quilt. I would not meet with her face to face. If she does not come forward and say what you think she should, it may leave you with hard feelings. Sending something thru the mail or via a mutual friend will leave it one sided and maybe she will reach out maybe she won't.

I was good friends, and still am, with one of my deputies. He wanted me to meet his wife, which I did, and we became fast friends. She was a fellow quilter and we would fabric shop and sew together. We were at her sons high school graduation party and MM was talking to some of his relatives who asked him something. He is not one to not tell the truth, so he answered them honestly. Well, the griped to my friend about it, she got mad at me and started doing not so nice things via text and online. Needless to say, we were no longer friends, and we won't be again. It was not until after this was over and done with that I realized she had no female friends, unless they were a relative. I now realize why.

Remember the good times with your friend, and maybe make note of that if you send her a card. I'm sure it will mean a lot to her.

September 8th, 2016, 10:34 PM
I would never make a quilt in this situation. You'll make yourself more miserable.

September 8th, 2016, 10:38 PM
I would never make a quilt in this situation. You'll make yourself more miserable.

Yeah, I probably would not either. When my 'friend' was nice to me, I had given her a purse. She made me a quilt and even paid to have a longarmer quilt it!! I thought about giving it back, but did not. I have not used it, but I felt it was mine to do with what I wanted.

September 9th, 2016, 12:53 AM
Thanks for all the wonderful advice! It's nice to know others have gone through similar situations. I think I'll send a card and leave it at that. I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

September 9th, 2016, 01:18 AM
Hi Lori,

Sorry that I'm coming late to this conversation. I hope you see this.

I am on the "back end" of a very similar situation. I had a friend for 50 years, my best and oldest friend in the world. She wasn't perfect; who is? But I loved her even with all her faults.

Then she betrayed me. She lied about me to my own daughter. I was driving, my daughter was on the phone with my friend, and I could hear both sides of the conversation. My friend didn't just twist my words, she out and out lied about me. (My daughter defended me, by the way, repeatedly saying "I think you're mistaken" to my friend.) I didn't cut off the friendship, but I did limit the length of our phone calls.

Then, one day, I got a call from this friend that she was in the hospital with newly discovered, late-stage cancer. I became a better friend, and was more present for this friend. She died about six months later.

I just want you to know that while I never regained my original sense of friendship and affection with this woman, I am very, very glad that I was there for her towards the end of her life. My advice to you is to think through how you'll feel in each situation. Will you feel fine sending a card? Will you wish you'd visited her in the hospital? Will you wish you'd started socializing again? I'm NOT saying that you should do any of these things, I'm just suggesting—for your own sake—that you think through how you'll feel once she's gone.

Personally, I think it would be a lovely gesture to make her a quilt for her chemo sessions. Make it from pre-cuts so that you don't have to spend a long time on it. But the combination of a quilt and a card would be very nice.

P.S. I think her continually slapping your daughter's sunburn was awful.

September 9th, 2016, 05:04 AM
As Madea says...Let 'Em Go!.....the roots of a tree are hard to find.....and Lori? Just tread carefully to not live with regret later. I unfortunately, live with regret(s); because of former friendships I had as I grew up and hasn't existed in a long time. There was hurt and pain so crucial, that I became bitter and wrote those prior "friends" out of my life. More times than I care to admit.....and unfortunately, those prior "friends" hasn't made an effort to reach out to me. Therefore, I hope I made the right decisions.....

Again, follow you heart, sweetie. When we lean on those who care and we're lifted up to regain our confidence in love and fellowship, the mending will happen on it's own.


Iris Girl
September 9th, 2016, 05:30 AM
I think it's awfully strange she was semi abusing your daughter and wouldn't stop when asked. I think I would send some flowers and a carefully written note, not about your friendship, but sorry for what she is going through. It will lift your guilt and you can move on.

This says it all in my opinion. Also your family not liking her says alot. After all it WAS your daughters day and sapping in any regard is uncalled for especially when someone knows you have sunburn. Sounds like a toxic person better out of your life.

September 9th, 2016, 07:39 AM
You all have given me so much to think about. And to top it off right after I wrote the original post my dear MIL had to go to the hospital. Last night after I got her home (independent living), I got a call that she had been found outside wandering around. When it rains, it pours.

September 9th, 2016, 10:13 AM
You all have given me so much to think about. And to top it off right after I wrote the original post my dear MIL had to go to the hospital. Last night after I got her home (independent living), I got a call that she had been found outside wandering around. When it rains, it pours.

Praying for you, hon :)

September 9th, 2016, 10:48 AM
Lori, all I can add is what you already know......follow your heart.

But as a true "momma bear", anyone slapping my kids is more likely to find themselves on the floor than worrying about hurt feelings. There are some boundaries that are never to be crossed.

I will keep your MIL in my thoughts and prayers, getting old is not for the feint of heart, nor is it easy on those looking after them. :icon_hug:

September 9th, 2016, 10:49 AM
I haven't read any responses so not sure what others have said but here is what I would do. At some point you cared for her enough to be close friends. While I believe she was entirely wrong in continuing to slap your daughter (or to slap her at all in the first place) and then get upset when she suffered the consequences of it, she doesn't deserve cancer for it, kwim? I'm sure, even if she doesn't regret that incident, she has a lot of regrets at this point in her life. I also think you have the right to protect yourself from further discussion on the topic.

I would probably send some flowers and a card with a letter in it, reminding her of all the good times that you all had, and that you are so very sorry for her sickness. I would address it to both of them and maybe once she passes "Don" will come around and he and your DH can resume their friendship? I'm sure Don will need it. Good luck with whatever you decide but know that you are not obligated to do anything.

September 9th, 2016, 02:14 PM
Hello again, Lori,

I just came across a web site that gives support to women with cancer. They sell little items like bags and bracelets as gifts for cancer patients ( http://www.thelydiaproject.org/common/contentsearch.asp?PAGE=235 ). I saw a little angel bracelet, and I thought of you and your situation. Something like that bracelet might be a nice accompaniment to your card. They also had tote bags with nice sayings, like "Peace." You could probably make anything they sell; the web page is just to give you ideas.

You are a good woman to even be thinking about what to do. When someone hurts our child, well, that's really tough to get over.

September 9th, 2016, 09:01 PM
Yes, please send a card saying you became aware of her illness and wanted her to know you are thinking (praying?) for her. She reminds me of friends we have (notice....have, because we live now hundreds of miles apart) . If they were closer I doubt we'd be friends (DH and her H were boyhood friends too). Some people are just so difficult and self absorbed they can't see outside themselves and how their actions affect others. Then they are amazed when take to task for them. However, she is still someone who is in a bad place now. Even if you are rebuffed, reaching out to her in caring is always a good thing.