How mutual support is created in online conversations and how such relational communication can be understood within and between layers of more enduring relational narratives is the focus of this study. The online (Facebook) conversations between two close friends over a 9 month period—one dying from pancreatic cancer (H. L. “Bud” Goodall, Jr.) and one experiencing vision loss (me)—are analyzed for how they create mutual support. The detailed qualitative analysis of the conversations furthers our understanding of supportive communication in two important ways: First, although much of the current literature focuses on one-way support, this study illustrates how mutual support is constructed. Second, given that the conversations are between long-term close friends during a specific period of health decline, the paper provides a detailed account of how supportive conversations are both “supported by” and help to “support” two broader narrative layers. One layer is the context of being mutually supportive during 9 months of need, and the second layer is the context of maintaining and celebrating a 20-year friendship. The further scholarly implications for understanding the invaluable connection of mutually supportive conversations within these broader relational narrative layers are explored.
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