In Sickness and in Health

Listen 48:37
Senior Couple Embracing In Hospital

We all know the vow: “In sickness and in health.” But in reality, when serious illness enters a relationship, everything changes. A powerful mix of conflicting emotions can tug on people — love, devotion, grief, guilt, and even resentment. Illness can be a test — a trial by fire — but also an opportunity for growth.

On this episode, we hear from couples and families whose lives have been touched by illness and find out how they made it through. How were their relationships transformed? How did they not only survive — but thrive? And what helps people cope, and even appreciate the good moments? We hear stories about how cancer changed the trajectory of writer Delia Ephron’s life, the hidden struggles of family caregivers, and how one mother’s illness transformed her family’s life.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • When writer Delia Ephron lost her husband of more than 30 years to prostate cancer, she thought she’d never love again. But then an acquaintance from her past, psychiatrist Peter Rutter, came along, and everything changed. Ephron’s new memoir is called “Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life.”
  • In the U.S., more than 50 million people serve as caregivers for a family member or loved one — and that number is on the rise. We talk with psychologist Julia Mayer and her husband, therapist Barry Jacobs, about the challenges caregivers face. They are the authors of “AARP Meditations for Caregivers: Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Support for You and Your Family.” 
  • Mothers are often the glue that holds the family together — and when they get sick, it upsets the entire system. Reporter Diana Opong tells the story of what happened to one family in the aftermath of a new baby, a cancer diagnosis, and multiple surgeries.
  • Writer Justin Kramon brings us this story of a romantic vacation gone wrong. Elaine Allard was enjoying a trip to Paris to visit her partner, Josh Evans — but a suspicious package, mysterious illness, and Josh’s increasingly erratic behavior started to make her wonder if Josh was really the right partner for her. 

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