Friends didn’t know what to say to Letty Cottin Pogrebin after her 2009 cancer diagnosis.
The story you're reading is premium content from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
AJC Print subscriber - I've already registered my account.Sign In
AJC Print subscriber - I need to register my account for digital access.Access Digital
Read MyAJC.com now - 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyAJC.com all week - 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to AJC for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of “How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick”
In conversation with Dana Barrett, local TV host and personality.
MJCCA Members: $9; Non-members: $14
12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Friday. MJCCA, Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. www.atlantajcc.org.
About the Book Festival:
Started Saturday and runs through Nov. 17. Most events at MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Free-$24. www.atlantajcc.org.
You’ll find more on some of the authors coming to the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center at MyAJC.com/sundayliving, including our interview with participating author Lily Koppel. You can also read the first chapter of “The Astronaut Wives Club.”
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of “How to be a Friend to a Friend who’s Sick,” offers these tips for helping a sick friend:
- 1. Ask the person to be honest with you and all of the person’s friends — whether it’s zero visitors or certain hours of the day.
- 2. Instead of saying, “Tell me if you need anything,” ask: “What can I do to help?”
- 3. Don’t bring food in a dish or container you want returned. If you have no choice but to deliver your lasagna pan and want it back, tell the patient you will pick up next time you come. Sick people have enough on their minds; the obligation to return your crockery would just add another burden to their to-do list.
- 4. Rehearse the visit in your mind. Don’t count on spontaneity to start the conversation ball rolling. Decide in advance on three or four subjects that might stimulate discussion. Bring along an item of interest: a newspaper clipping, a CD, a new app. Watch a movie or TV show together. Bring a jigsaw puzzle.
- 5. Think about your role in the visit. Ask yourself, ‘What am I prepared to do and what can I expect my visit to accomplish?’ Consider helping out in the following ways: cook a meal, tidy up, water the plants, walk the dog, do the dishes, change the sheets, etc.
- 6. On gift giving, try to personalize it. “When in doubt, my rule is pamper,” says Cottin Pogrebin. For a woman, consider a manicure or spa treatment. For a man, perhaps an old-fashioned shave at a barber shop.
- 7. Just show up. Here’s how my daughter Abigail put it in a recent email: “So much of friendship is just being in the room. Not necessarily what you say, give as a gift or write in a note — just showing up when it matters.