There was a great article in The Conversation about the stories that we tell each other and what they mean. Their research revealed that ‘the more children know about their own family history, the healthier and more resilient they are.’
The article also explains the Seven Basic Plots that these stories usually follow.
Briefly, these plots are: the Quest (think Lord of the Rings), Voyage and Return (Ulysses), Rags to Riches (Cinderella), Tragedy (King Lear), Comedy (Will Ferrell movie), Rebirth (The Ugly duckling, Shrek), and Overcoming the Monster (Star Wars’ Darth Vader).
The voyage and return metaphor provides loved ones with hope that despite ‘travelling’ to a far off land in enduring the illness, with time and attention they will return.