chapter  5
The Ordeal
Pages 13

Although the impending death of a sick individual may be apparent to outsiders, the view from within the family maybe quite different. Only 25% of the individuals in the statistical sample reported that they had known that an early death of their brother or sister was possible. Forty percent had some suspicion that something was worrisome but there had been no discussion in the family about the possibility of death. More than one third of the statistical sample reported that the death came as a complete shock to them. In fact, the actual death bore all the earmarks of a traumatic event in the lives of these individuals, giving rise to many of the sequelae associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (American Psychiatric Asso­ ciation, 1994; Terr, 1991). Although siblings shared some reactions, there were concerns and responses that appeared to be related to developmental capacities.