Grief is a natural reaction to bad news about our health. It is not an illness or one time event. Instead, grief is a process of internalizing the new catastrophic information. It is a major and legitimate feeling.
The first reaction to a diagnosis or a change in a health condition may be one of shock and disbelief. The life that was is no longer. There are the changes that the illness causes in a life style - as well as fears of future changes to come. There can be a facing of one's own mortality - perhaps for the first time. We know that this one is not going to go away, but don't want to believe it.
Grief is natural. It shows up in different and personal ways for each of us. Signs of grief can be physical or emotional or both. They can also be painful and disturbing. Although you may not expect it, grief can be healthy. It gives you the time needed to absorb the new reality in your own pace. A time to process emotions and make the needed adjustment. It is a "time off" that can be used to build the strength you need, to be able to face and embrace the new reality.
An illness can present itself in ways that are new to us and need a lot of adjustment and inner strength. In a way it is easier to adjust to physical changes than to emotional ones.
It is helpful to understand the symptoms of grief. Understanding helps coping with the symptoms.
How does a person cope with such an overwhelming situation? There is no one good answer to this profound question. But there are some tips that seem to help. Choose the ones that are right for you, the ones that you feel are good and helpful.
If family or friends aren't as supportive of your grieving process as you would like, consider asking them to read tips for caregivers below.