Hi @j21405, welcome to the Griefline online forums and thank you for your bravery in sharing your story.
It seems you experienced a profound loss at a very young age and then had to rely on your Dad who despite trying his best, may not have always been fully present due to his own challenges. All of these factors are likely to have developed in you a deep fear of bereavement and yet now you face the loss of another parent.
You may have heard of anticipatory or pre-loss grief which sounds like what you’re experiencing. It can bring on symptoms which include fear, sadness and anger – a lot like the symptoms of grief after the loss has occurred.
Many people find that preparedness can be helpful in reducing the intensity of your pre and post-loss grief. It can decrease anxiety while also bringing feelings of reward and hope. Preparedness can involve having accurate on-going information about your Dad’s condition and also having practical arrangements in place such as financial matters.
Social support is also very important. The way you talk of your sister, the challenges you shared growing up and your shared love of your Dad shows a strong and special bond which will be a real resource and strength as you navigate the difficult journey ahead.
Already you are showing such strength in your approach to your father’s illness. By reaching out on this forum you’re engaging in help-seeking which can be very effective in managing your grief. There are lots of other ways to access help such as one-on-one or group counselling but becoming a part of our community is a really positive first choice. There are sure to be others within our community who can identify and share their stories and maybe even ways of coping.
A warm welcome @j21405, we are here for you as you travel on this very difficult journey.