Grief affects how you interact with the world, your sense of identity and the roles you have within your family or social circle. You may find that your friendships and family relationships change.

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A sense of presence

It is common to feel a sense of closeness to the person who died. People often report that they see, sense or dream about the person who died, especially in the first few weeks. Some people find this deeply comforting; others find it frightening and unexpected.


People often feel intensely lonely. If your caring role was a major part of your life, you may feel lost without it. It can take time to settle into a new routine. After some time has passed, you may still feel your loss very strongly, but everyone around you may seem to have moved on. This can be hurtful and make you feel alone even when you are surrounded by people, and you may withdraw from those around you.


You might feel abandoned and rejected by the person who died. Or  you may feel neglected by the friends you thought would be there for you. You may be surprised by who offers the best support – often it’s someone who has experienced a major loss themselves.


Strong family feelings and difficulties often arise at the time of death and afterwards. Because everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time, it is easy to have disagreements with family members and friends after someone dies. There may also be conflicts over the person’s will and who gets their treasured possessions.

Tips for managing the social impact

  • Even after death, we continue to have connection to people in our lives who have died. Read some ideas for ways to remember.
  • Know that you are not alone. Loss is part of being human. Find someone you can talk to who will listen and be understanding, or ask your GP about bereavement counselling.
  • Read firsthand accounts of other people who have experienced grief. Find stories online, through bereavement support groups, or through your local library.
  • Join a support or grief group if there is one available, or consider an online group. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find a support group.
  • Talk with the friends, family and staff who provided support while the person was dying. Often it can be helpful to talk about that time with the people who were there with you.
  • Ask others for assistance – it will make them feel valued and useful.
  • Take small steps to re-enter your social circle. At first, mix with people you feel comfortable with and who understand you well. Even if you are just sitting and listening, you are connecting to others.
  • When you feel ready, try to join a social group or take up a new activity. Recognise that the first time you return to an activity, such as going to the shops, club, school or work, is likely to be the hardest. It tends to get easier with time, but asking someone to come along with you can make the initial steps feel less daunting.
  • Aim to be gentle and forgiving with others and yourself. Grieving family members and friends may seem angry or irrational. Try not to take it personally. Keep in mind that you are vulnerable too and have the right to protect yourself. Let someone else support them for a time.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on understanding grief.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2020
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Caring for someone with cancer
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Cancer Council Online Community
A community forum – a safe place to share stories, get tips and connect with people who understand

Cancer information

Emotions and cancer
People who are affected by cancer in some way can experience a range of emotions, that can be very challenging to deal with at times. Learn more.

End of life 
This information may help you better cope with end of life, or support someone who may be dying with cancer