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4 Things you can always say to someone who is sick

SoupAuthor Bruce Feiler, a survivor of bone cancer, wrote recently in The New York Times about what to say -- and what not to say -- to loved ones who are ill.

Here are four things that he says will always be welcome:

1. “Don‘t write me back.” Insist that the person NOT write you a thank you note when you drop off chicken soup or take the dog for a walk. That‘s one extra stress they can do without.

2. “I should be going now.” Don‘t overstay your welcome, which should be brief, especially if the person is tired or in pain.

3. “Would you like some gossip?” Ignoring the elephant in the room can be therapeutic. Chat about the underdog in the playoffs, the latest celebrity affair, the upcoming election.

4. “I love you.” Simple, direct emotion can be the most powerful gift you can give a loved one, and the fact that so few of us do this makes it that much more meaningful.