Everyone experiences grief differently. Managing the loss of someone you care about can cause difficult feelings, physical sensations and behaviors. These reactions vary from person to person, and feelings of grief will come and go unpredictably.

Just as everyone experiences grief differently, different coping techniques are useful to different people. Here are some techniques that may help you:

  • Be kind to yourself and understand that what you are experiencing is normal, even if it is different from how someone else experiences grief. Also understand that other family members may be experiencing grief differently as well.
  • Communicate with others who have gone through similar experiences. PanCAN Patient Services can provide you with information about grief support groups and connect you to volunteers who have lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer.
  • Engage in activities that help you express and/or release your feelings, such as art or physical activity.
  • Share your feelings. Whether talking with others or writing in a journal, sharing your thoughts and emotions may help you process and release your feelings.
  • Set aside some private time dedicated to thinking about your loved one and experiencing the feelings that arise. Some people find that these intentional thoughts help lessen the unexpected emotions that interrupt your day and disrupt your routines.

It is important to take care of yourself during this time. Eat regularly and healthfully, get rest, exercise, practice relaxation techniques, maintain routines when possible and allow yourself to experience what you are feeling without judgement. Accepting help others offer to you may make self-care more manageable.

Grief is not permanent. While you will continue to miss your loved one, the intense reactions that follow loss will subside over time as you adjust to life without them. Strong feelings may return around significant dates, such as birthdays or holidays. If your grief reactions do not subside over time, you may need to seek out additional support.

For more information about grief, access to grief resources or answers to any other questions you have about pancreatic cancer, contact PanCAN Patient Services.

More tips for coping with grief are available here: