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How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who Is Sick: A Review

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How to be a friend to a friend who is sick Letty Cottin Pogrebin

When I saw the title I knew I had to read this book. As anyone who is a regular reader on my blog knows I have an illness. If I had the funds I would buy about 50 of these books and hand them out to a lot of people that I have in my life. Pogrebin gives a lot of helpful insight about what to say and what not to say to someone who has cancer, had a stroke, is dying, or who has a chronic illness. Something that I do realize is each individual is different and the only way you will ever find out is if you ask the person ill what they need or want you to do. Communication is the biggest key and will stop the issues from happening. Though many patients as well as the people around them feel guilty and shameful about their circumstances and it is awkward to ask for help. I have found myself in this same predicament many times. I am learning to ask for what I need and not feel guilt or shame about it.
One thing that I love and I will be sharing with my family and friends is instead of asking me “how are you doing?” asking me instead “are you well?” Pogrebin has a lot of awesome tips that I am going to share with you.

1) Instead of how are you feeling? Ask instead what are you feeling?
2) Listen to how I am, do not tell me how I should be.
3) Respond to what I say, do not ignore it.
4) Don’t interrupt, unless it is to inject a sympathetic comment or relevant vulgarity.

To be honest I need help with the last one. I am a constant interrupter.

Things an ill person should share with others is:

1) Telling what is helpful and what is not.
2) Telling people when you want to be alone and when you want company.
3) Telling what to bring and when to leave.

Another thing that just made me laugh the biggest laugh ever was when the author told the story about how often people said “Oh My God!” Let me say to everyone that this remark is the best way to get on my bad side. It reminds me of a valley girl who is being overly dramatic and not being helpful. I hate it. It annoys the heck out of me. Thankfully I do not have to hear it that often anymore.
I enjoyed reading this book and all the helpful insights and the ideas the author expressed. I love the fact that the author not only has been ill, but has been on the receiving end of not so thoughtful commentary, gifts, and snafus. I love that she said she lost faith in her body, she felt guilt and shame about being ill and losing body parts, and having to rely on others to do things for her. Hearing that has caused me to say a special thank you up to God for allowing me to know that I am not the only one going through such shameful feelings. Feeling vulnerable while ill is not such a good feeling, but I have a hard time articulating that to those I love who are healthy and in my view rambunctious. I am thankful that I have not had a lot of thoughtless friends who have not abandoned me in my time of illness. I am blessed in that area. One thing I do know for sure healing is a lonely process, but the process does bring you closer to God and self and does change your life for the better.
Read this book, it is well worth it. It will help you and guide you to help those in your life with an illness so that you can be a better friend.

Just so that my amazing friends and family know what I like and what gifts to bring me I am going to communicate with you as the author suggested.

1) Journal and pens
2) A house plant to help get rid of the toxins in my home to help me breathe better
3) Any Do-Terra essential oils, especially lavender, peppermint, and basil
4) Tooth paste, body wash, shampoo and conditioner
5) A gift certificate to get a pedicure or manicure
That is all I can think of now and I will share more when I get the chance.

One Response so far.

  1. You are such a sweetheart I can’t imagine anyone be thoughtless to you, although I have seen it…I am so thankful you are in my life!

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