Your grief is as individual as you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy for coping with it. That is why I am bringing you this grief collection of readers’ and listeners’ favourite articles and podcast episodes.
Some general but important points about grief
✅ Grief is not always about death
When things change in our lives we can be moved so deeply that we feel grief and bereft. Often this is associated with death, but it does not have to be so.
Loss of health, good fortune, financial and social status or security, the ending of friendships and relationships and ageing are some of many reasons why we feel thrown into bereavement. And sometimes this can happen ahead of the change taking place – when we see it coming our way.
✅ Grief can be complex and profound.
Our feelings can be unpredictable and change from empty numbness to hot red rage, depression, fear, anger and hopelessness. It can be confusing for us and others.
Grief is exhausting – emotionally, mentally and physically.
✅ We may try and avoid or deny grief for fear of never getting out of it.
But the truth is – grief is something we need to allow and feel. Because we need to face up to the reality of what is happening.
It is the only way of to learn to cope, come up for air, gradually re-balance ourselves, create perspective for the life we have and live it the best we can.
Otherwise, the risk is to get stuck in grief for a very long time, indeed. And that can cloud the rest of our lives.
✅ To face grief we need to pace ourselves.
It is a gradual process, that may get worse before it gets better. There are swings and roundabouts, 2 steps forward and 1 step back moments. But over time you will learn to cope and look ahead.
My Grief Collection
I hope that my grief collection will assist you in finding your path, whatever type of grief and reasons for bereavement you are facing in your life.
The following is divided into themes, which may help you find what you need. Possibly more than one section may assist you in your circumstances.
You can dip in and out whenever you have time and feel like it.
1. Grief Collection: Coping with grief
Your guide to bereavement, grief and loss
What to expect, how to prepare and how to get through it. A detailed review of mental, emotional and physical grief challenges and how to cope. Read the article.
Coping with grief and loss
In this episode of my podcast ‘Soul Cravings’ I talk about coping with grief, whether it is a person who has died or left, a pet, a friendship or other chapters in our life that have come to an end – loss hurts. Listen to the podcast.
My interview with Kim Langley, author of the book and grief companion “Send my roots rain”.
In this episode of my podcast “Soul Cravings” I speak with Kim about the book (which is a themed collection of poetry, mindfulness and journaling prompts), her own experience of grief, how she coped and her advice for self care during grief. Listen to the podcast.
2. Grief Collection: Losing someone
Losing your soul mate
In this episode of my podcast ‘Soul Cravings’ I speak with author and widow Maryanne Pope about her own grief experience when she lost her husband in an avoidable accident. Listen to the podcast.
When my friend died she gave me a gift that changed any life
I have accompanied some people in their death. And each handled it differently. Because each was different in their lives and so also in their deaths. Here I share one particular experience, when the way in which a friend handled their own death and those around her helped strengthen my relationship with my own mortality. Read the article.
Pet grief is real
Pets can be the family we don’t have. Pet grief is a special grief and hurt just as much and even more so. Read the article here or listen to the podcast episode here.
Coping with the death of a therapist, mentor and confidant
The death of a therapist, coach for mentor can be a very special kind of grief, often misunderstood and played down. Here I share my own experience of my therapist dying. Read the article.
3. Grief Collection: Illness
One minute you are ok, the next helpless and frail.
Life-changing illnesses, accidents and events can make us feel frightened, vulnerable and bereft. Then we have to re-build and start growing our confidence again. Read the article.
How to keep going when someone else dies of cancer
If you are affected by cancer, then the death of others from cancer can be extra hard. Because it is a constant reminder of the unpredictability of the illness. In this article I share my step by step guide to coping with these (sadly) constant reminders. Read the article here or listen to the podcast here.
The emotional and mental impact of cancer
A cancer diagnosis changes everything and a sense of loss and grief is at the heart of a lot of it – even if we do not die of cancer. Read the article here or listen to podcast here.
Why cancer does not end with treatment
The impact of cancer and treatment is physical, mental and emotional. This does not end with treatment. Illness can change everything and we grieve for the life we had or will never have. Read the article here or listen to the podcast here.
The impact of cancer (or other life-changing illnesses) on relationships
The pressure of having cancer and other life-changing illnesses can change us and those around us. It can make relationships stronger, weaker or show them for what they have been all along. Listen to the podcast here.
Chemo hair loss is about more than wig or no wig
If you are affected by chemo hair loss, then you know that losing our hair is also about losing a bit of our identity, self confidence and how we feel about our place in society. How to cope with chemo hair loss. Read the article.
Infertility in middle age is still a loss
Losing our fertility is a special loss, even if we had decided not to have any (more) children. Infertility was one of the side effects of my first cancer treatment. Read the article.
4. Grief Collection: Talking about death
When we don’t grief in the way others expect us to
In this article from my ‘Dear Karin’ advice column I reflect on difficulties in families, when grieving or lack of can lead to disappointments and conflict. Read the article.
My friend is dying and wants me to be there. How do I talk to their family about it?
In this article from my ‘Dear Karin’ advice column I reflect on the difficulty friends and non-relatives can experience about spending time with the one who is dying. Read the article.
5. Grief Collection: Occasions
Coping with grief during festive seasons
Festive seasons, whatever your religion or society, can be extra hard when we grief. Because these seasons are loaded with memories, expectations, social pressure and often we can be left feeling even more isolated and separate from others. Read the article.
Coping with grief anniversaries
Grief anniversaries are not always easy, but necessary and can be helpful. Read the article.
When Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are difficult days
Mother’s and Father’s Day can be complex and remind us of what once was and may never be – our own families, parents and children that may have died or the children we never had. Read the article.
6. Grief Collection: Grieving about things we cannot change
Regrets can break us or make us
We can also grieve about decisions we took, choices we made. Regrets are a form of grief about a loss of possibilities and opportunities that cannot be undone. It can be a very profound and damaging form of grief. How to cope and face up to our regrets? Read the article here or listen to the podcast here.
Your crisis of purpose can bring new opportunities
Grief does not need a death. Many changes in our lives can make us feel bereft – mid life crisis, losing a job, the end of a relationship. And such crises can make us feel empty, without meaning or purpose. But such phases of grief can also bring new opportunities. Read the article.
Turning hopelessness into hope
Grief, loss and bereavement – whatever the reasons – can make us feel utterly hopeless. How to turn hopelessness into hope. Read the article here or listen to the podcast here.
7. Coping with grief needs self care
Grief can makes us feel exhausted and unwell. Looking after our wellbeing is essential. Here are some articles that may help you find ways of helping yourself.
A short introduction to mindfulness, especially of you think it’s not for you.
A short introduction to chanting and affirmations, especially if you think it’s not for you.
Quotes and poems to inspire and motivate
How to cope with difficult days
Listen: A guided visualisation to help you relax
Listen: Coping with difficult days
Grief and loss is something we all experience in our lives. Yet it can make us feel very alone and lonely. Trust that you will find a way to cope and live with grief that works for you.
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash
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I just cry all the time. I told my oncologist that if I could I didn’t want chemo therapy. He said I didn’t have because of some spesific facts according to my breastcancer. For me the antihormone treatment was the most important thing. So now I am really angry on my self. I could have had chemo if I really wanted to. So now I got radiotherapy coming up. I keep telling myself that I should trust the oncologist.He wants to save me and doesn’t want to be on the frontpage of the newspaper. But still I am so sad and disappointed because I am so weak for the moment. Everybody keep telling me that I need the chemo, and every time I get very frightened…..
Hello Hege, cancer treatment decisions are difficult and can be frightening for a number of reasons. Nothing is 100% certain and we need to make up our minds regards how much risk we are prepared to take with or without chemo. Perhaps you can discuss again with your oncologist, breast care nurse, or if they offer psychological support, then with a counsellor. Discuss what you are afraid of. And see how you feel then. With best wishes for you. Karin