Grief And Loss:
Grief: distress or sorrow over loss or bereavement, which can affect emotional and physical health.
Whether we lose a breast or a family member or friend to breast cancer, we will pass through a time of grief. It is a natural emotional process through which we travel on the way to acceptance and resolution. There is no timetable for grief – your journey may take longer or shorter than mine – but everyone’s grief can resolve into acceptance and resolution. Although our modern Western culture makes little room for grief and doesn’t schedule time for mourning, it is best to give yourself some time to make this journey.
Cancer may take many things from you: breast tissue, ovaries, fertility, a shapely figure. On facing the prospect of these losses, you may have anticipatory grief - a sneaky emotion that creeps up on you. Before your surgery or your treatment sessions begin, you may feel shock and disbelief as you confront the treatments that are required. Don't worry - these feelings are natural - you most likely won't feel this way forever.
If you are a caregiver or supporter of someone with breast cancer, you may also feel anticipatory grief. You may wonder if you are about to lose someone to breast cancer. This is a normal response to cancer.
Grieving By Stages:
There is no manual for grief and mourning. Many experts have studied and written about grief and there is no official program that you must go through to grieve and recover. Some researchers think there are five, seven, or even ten stages of grief. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross came up with a well-accepted set of stages that most of us can identify with. It is okay if your experience doesn't fit this pattern. Relationships and cultural expectations may shape different grief responses in all of us. Here are the basic stages of grief:
Working Through Loss:
When you start to deal with the loss of a breast or of a loved one, you may at first feel numb. As reality sets in, you are confronted with the new reality that something important in your life is gone. Coping with this loss isn't an orderly process and people around you might not recognize your grief. Your grief may come out in different ways - just take time with it and accept the feelings. This process may be expressed in ways such as: