I'd like to pass along some wise, low-tech advice for dealing with a family health crisis or family member's chronic illness: Be quick to forgive.
Everyone can have wholesome hearts and the best of intentions. Yet after a few sleepless nights or when stress levels are rising, a friend or loved one -- or you -- can say or do something hurtful. A moment of mean-spiritedness can pop out, surprising everyone (especially if it happens when things are finally getting better with the patient).
I could probably write a book chapter about the complicated dynamics behind an inappropriate outburst. But today's advice is about the common situation, where you don't need to understand why someone said what they said when they said it. These are times when the best path for everyone is simply to forgive and forget.
Although the same family illness is impacting everyone, the pain and difficulties experienced by each person is different.
Forgive yourself. Forgive the other. Reaffirm that you have shared hopes and goals. Remember that each of you is simply trying to do your best -- and some days your best is not as good as on other days.
A simple "I'm sorry" and "It's okay" can go a long way. So can a heartfelt hug.