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The Grief Process and Mesothelioma 

Patients are not the only victims of mesothelioma. The devastating impact of this disease extends to family and friends as well. It is very hard to watch someone you love experience the fast-moving effects of mesothelioma. Many people begin to feel grief immediately after a confirmed diagnosis has been shared.

This is a painful time, but the grieving process is an essential and completely normal part of accepting the death of someone you love. We all experience grief differently. Some move quickly through the stages, while others live with the pain for years. The one thing we share is the need to process our emotions in order to continue living our own lives in a healthy way.

5 Stages of Grief and Loss

Many studies have identified 5 emotional states that people typically experience during the grieving process:

  1. Denial – When you lose someone important to you, it is completely normal to want to deny the reality that he or she is really gone. This is an unconscious coping mechanism many people use to protect themselves from the painful truth. From shock to complete disbelief, denial can look different for different people.
  1. Anger – As reality sets in about your family member or friend’s death, you may feel angry. You might resent the person for leaving you or not taking better care of himself or herself. For some, it can just be easier to feel anger than to feel sadness.
  1. Bargaining – It is natural to try to regain some control when you’re in a situation in which you have none, such as when someone you love dies. You might want to believe that if you had just done something different—gone to the doctor or recognized symptoms sooner—your loved one would still be alive.
  1. Depression – This stage ranges in intensity from person to person. It’s natural to feel deep sadness and even withdraw from your friends and normal activities. Some people may have trouble eating and sleeping. But if your depression interferes with your day-to-day life after a couple of weeks, it can be very helpful to speak with a grief counselor.
  1. Acceptance – This is an important milestone in the grieving process that not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. Those who do reach this point will still feel great sadness sometimes, but they will be able to let go of the burdens of the past and find peace.

Because grieving is so personal and unique to each person, not everyone experiences all 5 stages, or necessarily experiences them in this particular order.

Grief Counseling

If you are grieving the loss of a family member or friend who has passed away from mesothelioma, you may need some extra emotional support. The good news is that there is help available. Professional grief counselors and specially trained volunteers can help you understand and manage your emotions during this difficult time. Because he or she has worked with many people in similar situations, a qualified grief counselor can be a priceless resource for support and advice.

Locating a Grief Counselor

To find a grief counselor near you, contact the following types of organizations for a referral:

  • Hospice services
  • Health care provider (doctor, nurse, social worker)
  • Your local Council on Aging
  • Churches or other religious organizations