“Should I make Christmas cookies early for my terminally ill friend?”

The mother of one of my best friends is dying of cancer. I went with my friend to visit his mom yesterday at hospice. Although she looks well considering, the cancer has spread all through her lymph nodes/brain/liver/lungs, and she is not expected to live until Xmas (she technically wasn’t supposed to make it until Thanksgiving, but I’m assuming, maybe wrongly, that she’ll make it through this week).

My friend’s mom has always thought of me as a daughter (to illustrate: When my friend left the room yesterday, she started telling me all sorts of concerns that she hasn’t discussed with her son, with the idea that I will help get her affairs together when she’s gone, because I “have the head for it.”). No problem, that’s the easy part. Here’s where I need the advice:

For the past 10 years, I have visited their family a few days before Christmas with a homemade batch of Xmas cookies. It’s a tradition. This year, I don’t know what to do. Do I continue as normal and wait for Xmas; or make the cookies ahead of time while she’s still around?

I know it’s ridiculous, worrying about the stupid freaking Xmas cookies; but this is the kind of feely-type issue I completely suck at.

It sounds like it’s not too hard to make cookies. So make some cookies. (Talk to the doctors and see if she can eat them at all, just so you know. Maybe make some choices based on that.)

Here’s my suggestion: Make some cookies that aren’t obviously Christmassy. As long as you’re at it, also make a batch of Christmas cookies.

Batch them up in little bags, put a ribbon on them. Go visit and tell her you brought her some cookies just because you think they will cheer her up. It probably will. Cookies are delicious!

Have a bag of the Christmas cookies in your handbag. If she talks about the Christmas cookies, you can decide whether to present them or wait. She knows about the tradition as well as you do.

Are you following me on the basic principle here? Carpe diem, but don’t make it obvious that time is short.

You can stick extras in the freezer, or make more later, or donate them to the hospital or hospice in her honor. There are lots of things you can do with cookies! But worrying about it should not be one of them. You’ve got her here now. Make some cookies. Don’t worry about whether they are officially Christmas cookies and when the timing is right. Right now is the right time. 🙂

My sympathies to you all. I wish you lots of strength, as you will need it for yourself and your friend.


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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