The Ins and Outs of Grieving

Mesothelioma is a cancer with a short life expectancy. This means that, unfortunately, caregivers and loved ones of patients with mesothelioma will most likely need information on what to expect and what to do (and not to do) during the grieving process.

Everybody grieves in his or her own way, but there are some core guidelines that should be helpful to all people experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one.

Honor your grief. Grief is a natural part of the healing process when a loved one passes away. While wallowing is seldom healthy, it is important to talk about your grief, cry about it, and to allow your grief to resolve in its own time. Be patient with yourself and ask for help when you need it.

Take all the time you need to grieve fully. When your time to grieve is over, you will know it. The experience of losing a loved one is life-changing, but there will come a point where you are ready to put the sharpness of initial grief behind you and move on with your life.

Be patient with the people around you. If someone seems to be pushing you to feel or act in a way that doesn’t seem right for you, remind yourself that they are most likely doing it out of love and that nobody can experience grief the same way you do; they can only try to help. It’s important not to push the people who love you and want to support you away.

Don’t discredit emotions. During the grieving process, it’s natural for a person to feel a range of emotions, from anger to despair and even occasional happiness. All of these feelings are valid and important, and you need to allow yourself to feel them each in turn.

Don’t take the blame. It is not uncommon for grieving family members to feel a sense of guilt, known as survivor’s guilt. This is normal at first, but it is important not to dwell on guilt or to continue to blame yourself. At some point, this becomes counterproductive and can only prolong the process of grieving.

When grieving the loss of a loved one, it is important to remember that you aren’t just losing a person; you are also letting go of a large part of your life and possibly the way you identify yourself. Take all the time you need to grieve fully. Then move on with your life, knowing that no person you love is truly lost: they live on in your memories and in your heart.