Having recently lost her grandmother, Marie got in touch with myself and the team to share some tips and advice that helped her cope with the loss. Off the back of this, she agreed to put a blog together in the hope that it might be a source of support to users of the site who've perhaps lost a loved one to cancer. 

Losing someone you love inevitably means reframing your life in some respects. When you’re grieving and in the process of learning new ways of thinking and acting, your world can feel crushingly complex, especially if you need to make sizable lifestyle adjustments. Consider this practical advice for finding your way through major transitions without becoming overwhelmed. 

Workplace woes 

Returning to work after losing someone you love can be extremely challenging, especially if your time away from the workplace was limited. While you need to process how you feel and the ramifications of your loss, you might actually find focusing on your work becomes a means toward managing your daily struggle. Give yourself something to do to get through the days and to feel productive, and allow the routine of familiar undertakings to help you regain a sense of control in life. Be forewarned, your coworkers may struggle with how to act or what to say when around you. One suggestion is to ensure they are prepared and aware of your circumstances. Before your actual return, consider connecting with coworkers for lunch or dinner so you can put awkward conversations behind you, and everyone can focus on work when you return. If your employer is agreeable, you might also decide to work part-time and ease back into the workplace. As you adjust, consider looking into some bereavement support to help you through the grieving process and the various responses and interactions that go along with it.    

New vocation 

Depending upon your circumstances, a change of vocation could be in order. Perhaps you need a higher level of income than previously, or it’s time to pare down your stress levels. The BBC points out employers are not always understanding when it comes to bereavement leave, so you might decide it’s time for a change of scenery in order to take sufficient time for healing. Whatever your reasoning, pursuing a new endeavor can help you rebuild your life and recover from your loss.

If you haven’t done so recently, updating your resume is a good step towards helping you on your way. Peruse resume examples so you can tailor yours to the industry, and brush up on your answers to common interview questions. Be prepared to discuss your skills and experiences positively.

Re-thinking your residence 

Many people find it unbearable to remain in the same home after a loved one passes on, especially if that person was a partner and shared the same abode. However, some experts recommend putting off moving to a new home until you have some time to process the other changes occurring. Moving is a stressful transition under the best of circumstances, so consider waiting six months or more before you commit to changing neighbourhoods. Sometimes, of course, you might not have a choice in the matter. In order to feel most stable throughout your transition, Psychology Today recommends creating an area in your current home which will function as a sanctuary, and pack it last. Reach out to friends and family for assistance, and remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process.

Relationships

If you lost your partner, being single again presents unique obstacles. Re-entering the dating scene can be fraught with difficult emotions and judgements, both your own and other people’s. You might feel you are being untrue to the memory of your loved one, or others might think you are callous for seeking companionship. Family members and friends might not know how to act, or the opposite could occur and they might push you to move on before you are ready. Only you can decide if and when you are ready to invest in new relationships. Bear in mind it will be unfair for you to make comparisons between new loves and old ones. Along those same lines, you should be willing to talk about your past with new partners.

One of the hardest journeys in life is the road we travel after a major loss. When someone you love passes on, reframing your world is a daunting endeavor. In time, you will heal, and as you navigate this painful process, take care of yourself.

If you’ve lost a loved one to cancer, perhaps take a look at our bereaved family and friends or bereaved spouses and partners groups to hear from other who’ve been through or perhaps are still going through a similar experience.

You can find ample information on coping with a loss through the bereavement section of our website too. Our Support Line teams are here for you too, even if it’s simply to be there as a listening ear – that number’s 0808 808 0000, and our teams are available 365 days of the year, 8am to 8pm.