Learning How To Deal With Grief And Loss

lizzydavis Member Posts: 893
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Learning How To Deal With Grief And Loss

I have been sad about the loss of Donna. I liked her posts and I am grateful for the Christmas card list she set in motion.

I have recently been reading articles and books trying to learn how to deal with grief and loss. Although I have suffered loss many times, each time is different and difficult. I wanted to share the highlights of what I have learned with you.

----When we grieve a significant loss, we are affected not only by the way we feel, but also by the ways we think and behave. While each of us reacts differently, there are similar things we can do to help those around us and even ourselves.

Death is an inevitable part of life and we must learn that grief is a normal reaction to our loss.

The pathway to grieving and adjustment of our “new normal” is difficult. -- BUT BY REMEMBERING AND CHERISHING THE MEMORIES OF OUR LOVED ONES WE CAN ASSIST ONE ANOTHER IN THIS JOURNEY.

All of us experience significant losses throughout our lives. We may lose a loved one to death, lose a job or a beloved pet that has been in the family for many years.

With significant loss comes the realization that life, as we have known it will change for the rest of our lives. The fact is that many of the support systems previously provided in our society for those grieving a significant loss are different or not available.

Those who are mourning experience the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of grief. The receiving of friends and the funeral ceremony are times the community offers support to those grieving. However, the weeks and months following the funeral are often the most difficult times.

Rituals To Commemorate

Rituals are effective and meaningful when they have significance to the deceased and to the survivor. The following are merely suggestions and might be altered and enhanced to appropriately accommodate the relationship involved.

·Review how your life is better because he/she was a part of it.
·Focus on the gift he/she was to you.
·Plant flowers, a tree or a flowering bush in memory of your loved one.
·Enjoy a toast to your loved one on a birthday, anniversary or holiday.
·Light a candle and recall the comfort or guiding light he/she was for you.
·Play music appreciated by your loved one and see if you can enjoy it now.
·Look through photo albums and focus on shared times and memories.
·Wear a piece of jewelry that was a favorite of the person.
·Visit the burial place – bring a balloon or symbolic item to leave.
·Journal some favorite stories.
·Become an activist in the cause of death issue – by participating in a walk-a-thon, phone-a-thon, etc.
·Volunteer for an organization in memory of your loved one.
·Send flowers to a close family member on the anniversary.
·If you kept greeting cards given to you by your loved one, take time to read them again.
·Enjoy a leisurely walk taking time to recall shared events in life together.

"Death is not the enemy; living in constant fear of it is." - Norman Cousins

The pain will lessen as time goes on. Think of how your loved one would want you to be happy and how he/she would want you to live your life to make them proud.

When things start to get unbearably heavy, find a healthy, caring, loving way to distract yourself.

"Gentle time will heal our sorrows." Sophocles


  • AnneCan
    AnneCan Member Posts: 3,673 Member
    Thanks Lizzie!
    This is very helpful; thanks for sharing it with us.
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    Thank you for the tips!
    As a patient partner for newly dx'ed cancer warriors (19, at last count), I had to learn early on how to deal with loss. I was hit very hard by the passing of a young friend with brain cancer, and so started doing research on how to handle loss. Unknown to me at the time, the skills I learned were a big help when my daughter and ex-hubby (we were still good friends) died within 3 weeks of each other...

    It's never easy to step back a bit, but that is the key to coping with loss and finding good things in our own lives...

    Thanks, again, dearheart, and I hope this really helped you deal with Donna's passing...she will definately be missed!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    That's wonderful. Thanks for sharing those thoughts.