- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Understanding grief
- What is grief?
- Circumstances can affect your grief
Circumstances can affect your grief
What happened in the hours and days before the death can make a big difference to how you grieve.
Learn more about dealing with:
Although it is difficult to know that a loved one is dying, you may have been able to spend time with them, talking about their death and what it will mean. This is often helpful, even though once the person dies you may feel you could never have been truly prepared for their death. If the person died at peace, having said and done what they wanted to, you might find you draw comfort from that peace. You may find you can accept the loss, even if you feel sad.
If the death was very sudden, or in traumatic circumstances, you may feel that things were left unfinished or unsaid. You may not have been able to be with the person when they died, or things may not have gone as you wished. You may also be managing symptoms of shock and disbelief.
Grief may be more challenging if you had a difficult relationship with the person who died, but still cared about them. If other people didn’t know about or understand your relationship with the person who died, you may feel very alone in your grief.
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.