When someone is ill, friends and relations, particularly children, can feel they have to hold them in mind.
This takes effort. It can be exhausting. You may do it even if you don’t do anything else about them, and even if they don’t know. You may find it impossible to decide whether to ring or visit or send a text, but you just go on holding them in mind.
If they get better, you can feel better. If they get worse, you can feel worse.
It is easy to feel you haven’t taken enough thought or care.
It is easy to feel guilty if something happens to them without your knowing.
It can feel that you are keeping them alive inside you, because you are thinking about them, and that the moment you let go, something awful will happen.
It can be even harder to realise that, whatever you think or do, they will go on getting worse or better, because of their illness or for other reasons outside your control.
If, for a while, you forget to hold them in mind, you can feel you have let them down, or failed to be a good friend, daughter, partner or whatever.