I received an email today from someone who has both had cancer and been a close relative of someone who died from it. She reinforced, like others did, that being the relative was much more difficult.
Almost every day, my mom tells me of emails or letters or phone calls from people—some of whom I know, some of whom I've never met or hardly even know about—wishing me well and offering sympathy and support and whatever help they can. My parents and my in-laws, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, parents of my children's friends, and most of all my kids and my wife—all have done that and more.
My relatives and friends probably need as much support as, or more than, I do, because much of the time they feel there is little they can do. They send me suggestions, and help me when I feel bad, and pick up the huge amount of slack I'm leaving when I'm sleepy or sick. But they can't cure the cancer, can't even fight it the way I have to. They are spectators, and that must be hard.
So cheers to all of you. I don't often thank you the way I should, but I think you might understand why I'm a little distracted most of the time.