Craine Counseling and Consulting Group provides counseling services, social work ethics consultations and social work ethics workshops in a variety of settings.

When a child is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, like my 11 year old son was diagnosed with lymphoma, it greatly impacts the entire family and impacts everyone differently. There are losses for the sick child: loss of innocence, loss of health, loss of friendships, loss of time, loss of control, etc. There are losses for the parents: loss of seeing the innocence in your child, loss of control, loss of time, loss of friendships, etc. There are losses for siblings: loss of innocence, loss of control, loss of time with parents and the sick sibling, loss of normal activities and rhythms.

These losses result in a grief reaction regardless of whether the illness is terminal or not. The feelings are more intense if the illness is terminal. Regardless, there is sadness, anger, bargaining, denial, shock, disbelief, etc. The feelings do not go away easily or quickly. I am not sure if they ever go away. Acceptance comes on an intellectual level but the emotional part may never come completely.

How does one cope? Some don’t and some figure out how to put one foot in front of the other each day and find some sense of order in each day, one day at a time. Possible coping skills include: meditation, yoga, walking or running, some other sport, therapy, journaling, etc. Please share what helps you cope. Thanks!

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