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Grieving a terminal illness

Hey Sam I've got something I'd like to know ? Well my mum has cancer and it's not curable my mum hasn't passed away yet but I'm already grieving mostly everyday ! Is it normal to have early grieving when someone hasn't died yet ? :(

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Grieving is a natural response to losing someone or something that’s important to you.  Knowing that you’re going to lose someone can mean that you start to feel the loss and emptiness before it happens.

Finding out that someone you care about has a life threatening illness or has died can make you feel scared, sad, alone and confused.  All of these feelings are a normal part of the grieving process.

Grief affects people in different ways. When you first hear about a loss you might feel shocked or numb, like it isn’t real. Later you might feel angry, sad or overwhelmed about what’s happened.  Sometimes people think about what they could have done to prevent the loss but you should try and remember that there’s nothing you can do to change what’s happening and it’s not your fault.

It’s normal to feel anxious about the future and about how your life will be affected. You might find it difficult to sleep so it can help to stick to familiar things and keep to your usual routines as much as possible.  Remember, it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling and you might not always experience all of the stages of grief.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways but there are things you can do to help you get through a tough time. Crying can be a way of getting feelings out - it’s not weak or stupid.  Laughing is another way of coping and can be a good distraction.  Talking to someone you trust or writing things down in a journal or diary can also help.  Some people find that keeping a memory box or book helps them to remember the important times they shared.

When you’re ready, the final stage of grief is being able to accept that the loss can’t be changed. That doesn’t mean that you agree with it or are happy about it but you’ll be able to carry on and allow the things in your life that have changed to be how they are now.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and it might be a long or a slow process for you. Remember that support from friends and family or a counsellor at ChildLine can help.

Take care for now


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