What to Say to a Friend Who Has an Illness


What should we say to a friend who has an illness?  A question I’ve recently been thinking about.  Just recently a friend to many in my  community died of breast cancer.   Not even a year ago, she had just moved from the east coast out to Arizona, a place that had always been a dream of hers to live.  Shortly after she arrived there she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

Talk about the unexpected!  During her last days we were all able to follow her decline on FaceBook as many friends had traveled far and wide to be with her and support her through her illness and this final journey.  We were notified of the day she went to hospice.  This woman Shaun, was a spiritual woman who lived her life through so much grace. In her last days we were able to hear how she was also ending her days with the same grace she had lived.

Many friends sent her messages through FaceBook wishing her a beautiful journey.  I sat there and read each one with mixed feelings.  On one hand it was so beautiful that through social media friends were able to communicate with her and send their beautiful sentiments, but on the other hand I thought how difficult this was.  Had I been friends with her, what could I have possibly said to her?  Would I have the right words for the moment? Would it give her comfort?

They say that everything happens for a reason.  I was just reading my More Magazine and found this article on the cover.  Of course I was compelled to read it given the most recent death of this beautiful woman.

For many of us who have or have had friends with illnesses whether terminal or not, it stirs up many different emotions. As the article states, it may bring our own fears to the surface about getting ill, or for some, it may bring back an experience we had with a friend or a loved one being ill.   The first step given in the article is to accept that we are in uncharted territory. The article also explains what not to say to an ill friend and how we should be lending support to their partners.  So many issues I had never thought about.

I think that even in her death, Shaun is still able to teach us so many important lessons in life.  For anyone with an ill friend or family member,  I hope this article I am sharing will help you to say the right words that will give that person comfort and support and also allow you to be at peace with knowing that you helped .  Read on…

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About Roseann Vanella

Our Family Expert, Roseann Vanella has spent a lifetime witnessing many families in transition on both a professional and personal level. She is a Professional Family/Divorce Mediator who clearly understands the impact on families going through life changes. She lives her passion through supporting & educating families through her work as a Professional Mediator, previous Radio Show Host and through building the FamilyAffaires.com community.

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