Losing A Loved One To Cancer And Coping With Grief

The experience of grief is deeply personal and is different for everyone. You might go through a range of feelings that can be overwhelming. Each person in your life may have any advice to offer when a loved one dies. However, what works for one person might not work for another. Most people find that the intensity of grief becomes less painful as time goes by. Looking for ways to cope and adjust can help you deal with the pain.   

Aspects Of Grieving

When a relative or close friend dies, you go through the process of grieving. It is normal to experience this after any sort of loss in your life. However, it is most powerful when someone you love dies. Grieving is usually not just about sadness. It usually involves a range of other emotions. Time is a huge help when it comes to understanding and accepting your loss.

Everyone grieves differently and there is no wrong or right way to react. Some people say that after losing a loved one, you move through different stages. It might not apply to everyone. You also might switch back and forth between feeling upset and feeling better. There may be times when you think about your loss and confront it with strong feelings. Other times, you might avoid these emotions by focusing on other activities. Distracting yourself is also a way to cope and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. 

Dealing With Difficult Emotions

There’s a range of feelings involved in the process of grieving. You might feel one or more of these emotions:

Shock and numbness

You might feel numb immediately after the death of a loved one. The shock causes some people to deny that the person they are close to has died at all. The fact usually only sinks in when they start talking to other people about what happened.


When you lose a loved one, your mind goes through things you would have liked to say or do when they were still around. You might find guilt in continuing to live or that you could not stop that person from dying. In some instances, the death may cause you great relief. Perhaps they had been extremely sick for a long time – and that feeling of relief makes you feel guilty. 

Sadness or depression

Periods of intense sadness are common, especially their memory is still fresh in your mind. You might miss the person deeply and cry aloud for them. As you get over the loss, these moments will be less frequent. However, you may have times of quiet loneliness. Spending time remembering the person who passed can be a quiet but crucial part of coming to terms with their death.

Grief can also lead to depression or make underlying depression worse. People who are grieving may avoid social gatherings, but they often accept support from loved ones. However, being depressed makes you want to isolate yourself and may even shun others.

Agitation and longing

It’s harder to concentrate or relax when your thoughts are filled with memories of your deceased loved one. You can feel a rush of agitation or longing when you want to see that person again. You might dream of them or imagine them alive. 


Many changes can happen following the death of a loved one. Moving to a different place, changing your financial and social status, a change in the way friends and family treat you. Anger can be expressed in different ways. You may be angry with the loved one who passed away, angry with God, or angry with the disease that took away their life. Dealing with anger is not easy, so it’s important to examine yourself and what’s causing this.


Being the one left behind leaves a hole in your life. At first, the emptiness of loss is with you every waking and sleeping moment. No words, pills, or even activities you used to enjoy could fill the void. After some months, you gradually begin to see life moving around you through less pain. This might not heal you completely, but you learn to go on living without your loved one’s physical presence.


The crux of acceptance is the assumption that you’re finally healed, once again whole, and that the feelings of loss will be gone forever. That simply is not how acceptance works. At this stage, you are a changed person. Change is not a bad thing, it just means that you are different now that your loved one is no longer with you. 

How To Take Care Of Yourself While Grieving

Embrace The Process

Allow yourself to feel down. Grieving is not permanent. You will be able to move on if you allow yourself to move one step in front of the other. Process your emotions as they come and continue to live your life. 

Find Creative Outlets

Consider expressing your feelings through creative activities, such as art or music. You can also keep a journal where you write your thoughts, feelings, and memories. Look back through your journal to see how your grief changes over time.

Seek Counseling

Not all people have the support of family and friends to get them through the process of grieving. You might need professional help to cope with your loss. Grief therapy may be beneficial for people who experience intense trauma that lasts a long time. A psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor can help you get on your feet again and start participating in your daily life. 

Grief becomes a heavyweight that can keep you from moving. However, you must fight it and figure out how to go on living with the loss in your heart. Whatever you decide to do, be gentle with yourself. Accept the down days and strive for better days. Reach out to others and cry when you need to. Allow yourself to laugh again and enjoy the life you still have. In the months following the death of your special person, think about how to make your life a tribute to the one who is gone.

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