- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Understanding grief
- How long will it last?
- Will it always be this hard?
Will it always be this hard?
When people find grief particularly difficult, they sometimes worry they will be unhappy for the rest of their life. For most people, it isn’t like that. After a while, the grief usually becomes less overwhelming, and they find that they start to enjoy things and feel enthusiastic about life again. If your grief doesn’t seem to be getting more manageable over time, read If you feel ‘stuck’ or desperate.
Many people say that coping with grief doesn’t mean getting over the death of a loved one. It’s about finding ways to live with the change and adapting to life without them. It’s not that your feelings about the person lessen, so much as a new way of living grows around the loss.
Ways to remember
You may find that doing something special to remember the person helps you cope with the loss. Here are some ideas that other people have found helpful.
|Plant a tree or flowerbed, or put a memorial plaque in|
a place that mattered to the person or in your garden.
|Create an artwork in their memory, or use some of their clothing to create a quilt, cushion cover or memory bear.|
|Frame a photo of the person and display it.|
|Make a memory box filled with keepsakes. You could include photos; a favourite item of clothing, such as a cap or scarf; a bottle of perfume or aftershave; letters or cards; a special recipe; and a list of shared memories.|
|Share memories by setting up an online memorial page.|
|Create special rituals such as lighting a candle, listening to special music or visiting a certain place. Rituals can be particularly helpful at challenging times such as anniversaries.|
|Be prepared for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays by planning how you want to handle the events.|
|Establish an award or a memorial prize or scholarship in memory of the person, or make a donation to charity in their name.|
|Get involved in a cause that was special to the person. Many people have found an energy in their grief that motivates them to make a difference.|
|Remember goals you shared and consider if you want to continue working towards them.|
|Talk about the person who has died. You may feel|
uncomfortable at first but sharing your memories with other people can help you cope.
Kate Jurgens, Bereavement Coordinator, Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, SA; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; A/Prof Lauren Breen, Psychologist, Curtin University, WA; Rev David Dawes, Manager, Spiritual Care Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rob Ferguson, Consumer; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Joanna Mangan, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Kate Reed, Nurse Practitioner National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Maxine Rosenfield, Counsellor and Educator, NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.