Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick by Lettie Cottin Pogrebin was written just in time for me and my friends. It's an important read for the friend who is ill and for those of us who want to be the best kind of friend we can be when all the rules change. I bought a copy for myself and gave it to my friend with breast cancer. Then I ordered another for myself. Now I'm ordering a third.

My friends and I are getting to that age, not that there is any right age for this sort of thing. It can happen at any age, but more and more a bad diagnosis for you or your friends is likely to happen the older and older you get. My friends and I have been dancing with each other for a long time, dancing like we know the steps when we do and when we don't, dancing when we feel more like crying and hiding, and being wonderfully brave and adventurous when we haven't a clue what dance we're doing. And then the bad diagnosis taps us one of us on the shoulder, cuts in, and partners us off to an unknown ballroom where the rules have nothing to do with us, except they do. And so it is for three of my go to friends.

Lettie Cottin Pogrebin is an old friend too. She doesn't know we're old friends. She's someone like me only on a national scale. She is one of the founders of MS magazine, and because we're the same age and because we're both Jewish we've always had a lot in common. Twenty-five years ago she wrote a book for me when I was beginning to figure out if I had a place in Judaism. She introduced me to her friends and I read their books as well, and I found my way. Some of them cycle back through her current book. I'm grateful I met them all.

If you are in the dark corridor of illness, your own or a friend's, if you're looking for a light to lead you forward, the title of this book is the beginning of everything you need to know. 

Baruch ata adonai....I am grateful for health and the wealth of friends who guide me to unknown parts of myself. Thank you for waking me up this day. May I be a friend to others and especially to myself. Amen


  1. This is so on time for me. One of my longest and dearest friends is ill as well as both of her parents. She's going through a lot and I find myself at a loss to comfort her. This book sounds like a great resource for this situation.

    Very glad to see you again. :) I missed you!

    ~ Cassandra

  2. I agree with the above commentator, What a wonderful comeback....just like those Olympian athletes we've been viewing the past week who pick themselves up and persevere. Your words of wisdom and resource, metaphors and inspiration, written in such captivating prose, make me think of Abraham Lincoln whose day I celebrated on Wednesday by rereading some of his words. Your dance flowed and swirled. I see it imprinted on the Valentine I received from you this a.m. I shoot back an arrow of gratefulness to you. SL