Re: the friend with a longterm (possibly terminal illness)
I agree this case seems to be about control and a fear of being left
or leaving, so I don't know if this suggestion will work for you,
but it's worked for me in 2 cases where friends have had cancer. It
helped that these people had done enough personal work to understand
that one person with a family and job would not be able to shoulder
the load of an adult needing extreme medical care without losing the
ability to take care of their own family/business/themselves.
We created a support team for the person who was ill and called it
"Team (the ill person's name)". The team was composed of friends
and friends of friends (who didn't want to see the primary friends
get sucked into an untenable situation). We had a phone tree for
emergencies, and e-mail for regular communication, we also met once
a month for lunch and all checked in with the patient- ate good
stuff, did a lot of laughing and some crying, but always felt better
after. At the monthly meeting we made a schedule for the month; who
was cooking, who was delivering food if the cooks couldn't, who was
taking the patient to chemo, who was feeding the animals on the day
of chemo (since the patient couldn't move), who was taking the
patient to the doctor, who was mowing the lawn (teenagers got
drafted) and even who was visiting the patient to cheer her up.
In the team we made sure to accept every kind of help offered and
worked to not make people feel bad that they couldn't take on more.
Help ranged from a university student who volunteered to do laundry
every couple of weeks when she did her own, to a retired woman who
had had cancer and volunteered to do all the driving and waiting for
chemo to be over.
In the case of the first friend, when her cancer became terminal and
she needed round the clock care, the team worked with the hospice
and arranged to have a friend stay over to give our friend a sense
of the "family" (she had no blood family) she had chosen. In the
case of the second friend, she's doing well and, though she was
resistant to the team idea at first (she didn't want strangers
knowing her business), she's now pleased that the team was there and
has a larger circle to call if things get rough.
Fortunately, everyone in these groups lives by dayplanners, so
scheduling everything was second nature.
Good luck! And remember to state your needs also,
--Nora in Tucson where the desert smelled like rain for 10 minutes a
couple of days ago. Monsoon is coming! Monsoon is coming!