You know that moment in ET where he’s dying. He’s turning white and all shriveled and he’s hooked up to all sorts of medical equipment and none of the adults in the room seem to know what to do. And during this time Elliot seems to be dying too, he’s feeling the same things ET is going through, and you suddenly realize that Elliot and ET have grown connected since they met. You think back to all the signs from earlier parts of the story; they experienced the same drunkenness, heroics, romance, and happiness. When ET started to get sick, so did Elliot. They feel each other’s pain. They’ve become inseparable such that Elliot almost dies* along with ET before he can recover. That’s what losing a spouse to cancer feels like. Or at least that’s what its felt like to me.
* Not in need of any support, just wanted to share the observation. If you haven’t seen ET since you were a kid, you should see it again.