Mom and Dad were planning an Alaskan cruise with a group of friends from their church when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1998. With a departure date scheduled for just a month post-surgery, they canceled their plans.
As his condition leveled out over the next few months, Dad settled into chemotherapy treatments every other week, and Mom assumed her role of primary caregiver. The prognosis wasn’t great, but he’d made the decision to pursue non-heroic treatment for the near term… and was hanging in for his final year or so.
When the daily routine returned to something resembling “normal”, Mom would occasionally mention the trip, expressing her disappointment that their plans were scuttled by Dad’s illness. Dad wouldn’t say a word as she would tell anyone within earshot “We were booked on that Alaskan cruise but had to cancel when Dad got sick…”
He apparently hit his limit one day when he quietly responded “I’m really sorry I got cancer and screwed up your vacation”.
She didn’t mention it again, at least not in front of me, until a few weeks after he died.