My son's wife's step dad just passed away. He (let's call him Dan) battled lung cancer (never smoked) and pulmonary fibrosis for about eight years. It was a valiant battle, with treatments, and doctors and lung transplants. What a brave man and super supportive absolutely wonderful family.
No matter how Dan felt, he always had a positive outlook on everything and everyone around him. He was a gentle and kind and super bright man. To his last day, he was trying to help those around him, and had a sense of humor about it.
Watching all of this from a distance, (land distance and not closely related) I learned so much about how others handle the sadness of a terminal situation. There were those who stepped right in to that intimate close vulnerable circle, and others who stepped away and built a defensive wall, and all those in between. This was a family who had stayed close and supportive through divorces (ex-s all good friends) for the good of the whole, and all were learning yet another piece of support - when a member of the close group passes on....
It was very nice to see my son, who had never experienced (first hand) a close family member's death, decide to treat his step dad as he would hope to be treated if he were in those shoes. He stepped right in, and became Dan's confidant and closest hand holder through this event. My son learned that even though someone cannot speak any longer, they will and can communicate in many other ways - a little squeeze, a grunt, a slight movement of any kind could be read as if it were a full sentence. He had never felt so in tune with someone before.
Through my son's eyes, I learned more about myself, too. How would I react in this same situation? Am I one to step in or am I the 'wall builder?'
I am thankful that I have a son with such depth, and that my children keep teaching me every day how to be a better and deeper person.
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