Cancer Grief: How to Grieve Properly For an Easy Tomorrow
Fighting cancer while living with its symptoms can induce grief. You experience grief for losses, be it tangible (strands of hair or an organ) or intangible (loss of independence), in various stages of cancer treatment. Grief stays with you heavily, overshadowing daily activities, and slowly affects the body and mind. However, grief isn’t permanent, and like time, it helps us heal and recover, and it expects us to yield to its wisdom, although the process can be slow. Grief, once it has taken its course, can transform our mentality and break the walls of our mind. The process, once complete, helps us emerge with a sense of strength, wholeness, and wisdom.
How cancer causes grief
Experts recommend that the first step to managing grief is to understand it. It is natural for people to get frustrated with grieving and trying to end the process quickly, but this is not the right approach. Imagine your loss as a wound and your grief as the process of healing. The greater the loss of blood, the longer the healing process.
Most patients undergoing cancer treatment can experience collateral losses, such as not being able to make it to the workplace, engage in routine activities, or mounting financial burden. Since life-changes and multiple losses occur in close contiguity, grief may persist, continue to grow, and take new forms. Therefore, the best way to manage it is to look at your losses in the face, handle your emotions healthily, and allow yourself to grieve.
The process of cancer grieving.
Types of loss notwithstanding, the tasks of grieving process stand the same.
- The first step is to accept your loss. Allow yourself to go through the pain of grief and overwhelming sadness.
- Try to adjust to a world without the thing you have lost.
- By forming a connection to the thing you have lost, try to stop the loss from affecting your progress in life. For instance, think about what the grief has taught you, how far you have come from the day of your loss, and the things you can remember fondly with no remnants of pain.
Unfortunately, though, it isn’t so easy that you can come out of it after going through a few stages. You might experience acute grief at specific times, such as the first holiday after the cancer diagnosis, which is normal and is a part of the grieving process. Momentary grieving in such instances can set off a long period of reflection, walking you down the memory lane.
Grief can manifest in a variety of ways, such as:
- A tight feeling in the chest or throat
- Dry mouth
- Emptiness in the stomach
How to help yourself
Acknowledge your grief. Face your emotions head-on and give your grief time. Never force yourself to feel better because it might affect the healing process. If restricted and not let out, grief can turn into a caged bird, detrimental to your mental health. Whatever be your feelings, positive or negative, give them a voice and let them out freely. Talk to someone whom you trust, a family member, or a friend about how you are feeling. Don’t be ashamed to let tears fall, as crying is a necessary part of grieving and makes the process complete. Also, crying relieves your mind and unburdens your emotions. Eat well, take your medicines on time, and drink plenty of fluids. Stay hydrated and stay positive.
Face cancer with courage, be patient, and be kind to yourself.