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Grief Awareness Week: Incomparable loss

*Please note this blog is a personal reflection of grief after losing someone to cancer so may contain upsetting details or be triggering for some readers*


Firstly, remember that no two experiences of grief are the same. You cannot compare one person’s loss to another, nor should you compare or judge how people grieve or express their loss. There is no better grief to experience nor a worse grief.

Soon after mum died, I had a couple of people say to me “but it’s not so bad, because you were kind of expecting it”.


After an initial double blink, I chose not to take these comments to heart because I know we can struggle to find the right words to support someone who has just lost a loved one. The point is, it doesn’t matter if you know it is coming, or if it is sudden – it is still one heck of a shock.


Before I lost mum, I had no idea I was already going through a grieving process. A lot of people who have loved ones with terminal conditions go through a state of anticipatory grief where they begin to mourn the person even though they are still alive and in their presence. They imagine what life will feel like without them, how every moment could be the last, how they miss them already because they are on finite time. It feels very different to the grief that comes after, but many people aren’t aware that even though their loved one is still alive, there is still a grieving process happening and they are in the middle of it.


Grieving can be lonely. Even with the most amazing support it can still feel like you are wading through a sea of treacle with people kindly throwing life vests for you but ultimately, you are feeling this struggle alone. That is because grief is individual and unique, and you know what… that is ok.


Living with grief is a solo journey as we each have our own memories and experiences with the person. Someone can sit with you and you can talk it out, but only you know how you feel. I found this all-consuming to begin with. But as my dad beautifully put it, feeling the loss and sadness in those moments alone actually brings her closer.






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