Embracing our differences

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Each of us had very different coping styles that could have caused conflict
and judgment We came to recognize that truly embracing each other’s
different coping styles was a key element in staying close.

Two of us paying attention to one of us at a time

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Kate and I in particular needed to take turns regularly talking about our feelings
and fears because I needed to be able to listen to her dread about life without me
with all my heart and I needed her to be able to tolerate my bouts with passivity
and even disinterest about my surviving.

Chosen silence worked better than frozen silence

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Sometimes when we were all feeling some very difficult feelings about this or that
being potentially the last time we would all be together, it worked better for us to
agree that we would not talk about our feelings and just carry on as best we
could. Choosing to talk not about it together felt better than our covert collusion in
avoiding the elephant in the room.

FFF (forced family fun)

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Sometimes just being together whether we felt like it or not helped us get through
difficult times. We played endless hours of bridges and watched a lot of not very
good movies just in the effort to be together.