This week addresses a breach of etiquette. Having had to deal with this exact situation when my mother was terminally ill, I cannot stress enough the kindness in the simple phrase:
“To go to the room of an invalid unless invited (is a breach of etiquette).”
When someone that there is a less than pleasant history pops into your room on the palliative ward unannounced, it doesn’t matter how lovely the flowers you bring are. The patient is in whatever state allows them momentary comfort and they’re suddenly left scrambling to improve their appearance for the well-meaning visitor. And that’s what it was, someone from the past that knew that Mom was terminal and stuck in hospital and wanted to come by and show support. There was no malicious intent at all.
Nevertheless, an act of kindness when one is struggling through illness should also give thought to the wishes of the patient’s comfort. Surprises sound like a great idea, but are not in this situation. When she was expecting guests, we had a beauty routine that made her more comfortable as to her appearance and allowed her to fully enjoy the visit.
So yeah, check first and then shower them with as much love and attention as they welcome.
It is about them after all.