Loss and grief
Living with blood cancer poses many complex physical and emotional challenges, both for the person diagnosed and for those around them. One of the biggest challenges is perhaps the fear or reality of loss; loss of a loved one and loss of one's life as it was once known. Grief is a natural reaction to this sense of loss and it is normal to experience this grief at various stages along the way.
The death of someone we love is one of the most challenging losses we face in life and one that is naturally accompanied by a range of intense emotions, that sometimes take us by surprise. It is not uncommon to feel great sadness, anger, guilt, relief or regret, sometimes all at once. It is also common, especially soon after the loss, to have a sense of numbness, disbelief or denial. These are normal reactions and our mind's way of protecting us from the overwhelming reality of what has happened. Over time, the reality of the loss sinks in and people can experience the range of emotions that ensue.
Many bereaved people feel under pressure to 'get over' their loss and move on. It is important to remember that grief is a process that takes time, and that learning to live with the loss of a loved one can take a long time. Their memory will always be a presence in our lives. Family and friends need to allow the grieving person to express their feelings in their own way and for as long as they need.
Grief often goes in cycles and intense emotions can resurface, often at unexpected times, taking us by surprise once more by their intensity. It is normal to revisit intense feelings on special times of the day, for example meal times, and at special days of the year, such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or festive occasions. On these days it may be helpful to plan ahead what you are going to do on that day. Lighting a special candle or having a family gathering may be helpful rituals.
Emotional and social support is essential in helping people to deal with grief. Friends and family can be enormous sources of support for the grieving person. Many people find that the support they receive through counselling and support programs helps them to gain a sense of hope for the future. They appreciate being understood by others who have had similar experiences and feelings. Individual and family bereavement counselling plays an important role in helping people to deal with grief and loss. In this environment the bereaved person is encouraged to explore the many difficult emotions that arise for them in a safe and supportive environment.
We all deal with loss in our own way, and there is no right or wrong or easy way to cope with the issues and emotions that come up. It is important to trust that over time and with a great deal of help, you can learn to live with your loss. With support and in time you will find the strength and the will to make the necessary adjustments and plans to move forward in your life.
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