There is no one right way to grieve. It’s natural to experience feelings of pain and grief over the loss of a loved one.
People who are grieving the loss of someone from an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma or lung cancer usually feel:
- A desire to be close to the deceased person
- Social withdrawal
- A deep sense of loss
- Disrupted sleep
- Poor appetite
- Shock and disbelief (initially)
- Memory and concentration difficulties (temporarily)
Adaptive Grief Versus Complicated Grief
While it would be incorrect to call any grief “normal,” the usual grieving process is one by which people mourn the loss of a loved one, feel the pain and anguish of that loss and, eventually, return to a state where they can function and even enjoy life again. Adaptive grief does not mean forgetting the person who died of mesothelioma, nor does it mean ignoring the pain that may reoccur when thinking about the loss of that person. That being said, adaptive grief does subside.
Unrelenting grief that becomes debilitating, on the other hand, is not constructive. Mental health professionals call this kind complicated grief.
Complicated grief is a prolonged, intense and disabling form of grief that emotionally paralyzes the sufferer, trapping them in a state filled with troubling thoughts, restless sleep and difficult emotions. People who suffer from complicated grief withdraw from friends and loved ones. They also have trouble fulfilling their obligations, such as tasks at school or work.
Complicated grief is not subtle, and is distinct from adaptive or “normal” grief.
Adaptive grief can become complicated grief with little to no warning. People who experience complicated grief should talk to a health professional. Likewise, anyone who experiences grief over the loss of someone to mesothelioma should find ways to effectively deal with that grief. Here are four ways to deal with adaptive grief from losing a loved one to mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease.
Speak with a Mental Health Professional
If you feel you may not be dealing with mesothelioma grief effectively or the grief seems to be negatively affecting your life, remember that grief counselors and mental health professionals are always available to help you deal with these thoughts and emotions. Your hospice social worker or chaplain also offer bereavement counseling you may take advantage of. Many feel the comfort of reaching out to clergy during difficult times. At the least, it’s important to talk to someone you trust about your emotions. Sometimes just acknowledging the hurt and pain out loud can make a difference.
Remember, when your loved one had mesothelioma, you were there for support. You, too, deserve care and support as you deal with the loss of a loved one from an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Reach out to Others Devastated by Mesothelioma and Asbestos
Those experiencing grief often withdraw from social contact. Unfortunately, social withdrawal can make things worse.
The loss of someone to mesothelioma hardly ever affects just one person. Try to reach out to family and friends who also feel your loss. It may help to discuss these feelings to support each other through this difficult time. Including loved ones in your grieving process may also help them share and address their own feelings of loss and sadness.
Another option, is to join online mesothelioma support groups. As charities supporting families and victims of asbestos diseases, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (The Meso Foundation) or the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) provide a community for those whose lives have been devastated by these diseases to join together in solidarity. Both organizations have active Facebook communities and host conferences and events throughout the year.
File an Asbestos Lawsuit
Another common feeling that stems from grief is anger. If you lose someone to mesothelioma, it is perfectly normal to be angry about it – especially when you realize that corporate greed and malfeasance in the asbestos industry directly led to your loved one’s cancer. When a person is responsible for another person’s death, the responsible party should expect to face criminal charges. When a corporation is responsible for someone’s death, however, the only recourse is to file a lawsuit against them and win a legal settlement or verdict. In the case of mesothelioma, this generally follows a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
In addition, as you likely know, mesothelioma is an extremely expensive disease. The cost of mesothelioma treatments, transportation, home care, lost wages and funeral expenses can be substantial. Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit may help cover medical expenses associated with specialized treatments not covered by health insurance.
Seeking justice for your loved one who has died from mesothelioma can help with the grieving process. If you are interested in filing an asbestos lawsuit, it is important to speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. If you delay, the statute of limitations and other factors may prevent you from obtaining the full compensation you deserve.
Just making the first call can be an important step in addresses the grief of losing someone to mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease. Click here to schedule a free consultation about your potential mesothelioma case.
Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Many grieving people feel helpless about their situations. This feeling of helplessness can be quite overwhelming and self-perpetuating. In other words, when a person feels helpless to change their situation, they begin to feel as if nothing they do will change their situation.
One powerful way to counteract this feeling of helplessness is to help others. If you are grieving the loss of someone who died from mesothelioma, you can no longer change the course of his or her prognosis. Instead, you can help educate other people who may not yet know the risks of developing this destructive disease. Perhaps you can help in efforts to research, combat and overcome mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.
Start by contacting patient advocacy and research organizations dedicated to fighting mesothelioma. Mentioned above, the Meso Foundation, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education and advocacy for survivors and families dealing with mesothelioma. Likewise, ADAO is a nonprofit that advocates for awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure.
By supporting these organizations, you may find the strength to combat feelings of helplessness and better deal with the grief from losing someone. Your actions could make a difference for another patient or family grappling with a diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos-caused lung cancer or asbestosis.