Dealing with the news my brother or sister's cancer can't be cured

Grieving before your sister or brother dies

Usually people think of grief only as something you experience after someone you love dies. It’s possible to feel grief when you know you are about to lose something that is important to you, before it happens. This is called ‘anticipatory grief’ and often happens when someone you love is expected to die.

Waiting for your sister’s or brother’s death to happen – and knowing you cannot stop it – can be just as painful and hard to deal with as the death itself. It can be really confusing, with heaps of mixed feelings and you might not be sure how you’re supposed to act.

There will be lots of sadness, but there will be good days too – make the most of them. Everyone in your family is experiencing their own feelings of loss and grief, but they may be showing it in different ways. They may also be trying to hide it. You might find it really scary or upsetting to see your parents so stressed. And you might miss the way things used to be. But grief is normal and things will eventually settle down.

It can be important that you try to understand and get a handle on your grief so that you have the energy to make the most of your time with your sister or brother and say the things you need to say. It can help to [talk to a counsellor] or connect with other young people who understand what you’re going through in the CanTeen Community.