In my studies of the lives of older Americans, I learned that almost nothing is as painful to them as estrangement from an adult child. When I wrote a blog post on this topic, it led to an extraordinary outpouring of interest that both surprised and moved me. When we reach the later years, our dream is to be surrounded by loving children and grandchildren.
You've heard the critiques of so-called "helicopter parents" who can't stay away from their kids, smothering them with so much love and attention that they never develop self-reliance. Narcissistic, dependent, and unable to strike out on their own, your over-loved children expect everyone to wait on them hand and foot.
Take care of ourselves? Perhaps that's the one thought that trumps all others, and probably the one thing that parents of sick kids, especially sick adult kids, lose sight of. And it's probably the only thing in this whole horrifying cancer dance that a proud parent can actually control to some degree.