Dealing with Loss for Those Left Behind

Within a matter of months, or even weeks, you witnessed your loved one succumb to the devastating effects of mesothelioma. And now he has passed away. You know mesothelioma is a fatal disease, but that still didn’t prepare you for how you’re feeling right now. You may be overwhelmed with emotions, or you may just feel totally numb.

Some people who have lost someone they loved to a fatal disease have also felt a little relieved, knowing that the person they cared about no longer has to suffer and is now at peace. However, this does not stop the feeling of loss and it can be hard to cope with losing someone dear to you. It is okay to feel the feelings you are experiencing right now. It is extremely important that you express how you feel and share with others what you are going through. This could be through emotional support through family and friends. Or, you and all those left behind could get counseling from someone who knows how to help those who are dealing with loss. Whatever road you choose, take your time and bereave the way you feel is best for you.

Deal with it in your own time

To understand more about what you are going through it is important to know, everything you are feeling and dealing with, you are not alone. Suffering the loss of a family member or friend can take a toll on your mind, spirit and body. So don’t fret; your reactions to your loss are all perfectly normal and you are allowed to grieve in your own time.

There will be times (and you may have already experienced some of these already) where you will feel various feelings at once or one at a time.

  • Disbelief and/or numbness
  • Anger and/or guilt
  • Extreme wanting or yearning for your loved one to be back with you
  • Sadness and depression
  • Acceptance of your loved one’s death

Often times you will go back and forth with these various emotions. And that is okay. It is up to you and only up to you how you feel and when you feel with your loss.

Disbelief or numbness

There are times when you’ll have a hard time accepting what has happened. The loss can be so overwhelming you may find yourself shut down emotionally, just so you can make it through each day.

During this time of numbness, you may dream about your loved one being alive and healthy again. You may hear their voice or sense their presence around you. This is natural to anyone who has lost someone close to them.

Anger or guilt

Because you have been with your loved one through their cancer struggle, it can be easy to blame yourself for his death. The feeling that you should have done something different or could have done something to save them is a normal notion and it can cause you to be angry and feel somewhat guilty. Embrace all that you feel and respect these feelings, but try to remember that there is nothing you could have done to keep your loved one alive and healthy—mesothelioma is a fatal disease.

Yearning and depression

You have spent many years with your loved one and now they are gone. This means that someone you love is not only gone, but a part of your everyday life is now missing. It is natural to yearn for your husband to be lying next you at night or your brother to see you each weekend for Sunday dinner. This hole in your life can cause an unbearable yearning and depression and the mere fact that you are experiencing this makes you human. This was a person you loved deeply and spent most of or all of your life with, after all.


The feeling of accepting your loss can actually go back and forth between disbelief and denial. This is normal. As you try to understand what has happened and you review your life and your loved one’s cancer journey to death, you will experience lots of emotions and sometimes your feelings and thoughts will not make sense to you. Again, this is normal and embracing your feelings will eventually take you to acceptance and learning to live your life without your family member.

Physical effects

Losing someone close to you can take a toll on your mind and body. You may be experiencing anxiety and this can cause stress on your body. Loss of sleep and loss of appetite can take a toll on your health. It’s imperative that you talk to your doctor about how to remain physically healthy as you go through this hard time in your life.

Moving forward with your life

It goes without saying, your life will never be the same. There is no need to even try to believe this. You have lost a part of you. Now, you have to find a way to move on with your life as your loved one would want you to.

One of the first things you can do to help yourself is to celebrate your loved one’s life. Look through photos and talk to other family members who miss your loved one, too. You will find that you will laugh and smile as you reminisce the good times you had with your loved one. You will enjoy thinking and talking about their favorite things and experiences you had together.

Continue to stay in touch with others who support you emotionally. If you feel comfortable, a grief counselor is a good person to communicate with. Be sure to go through this process on your own time, in your own way. Don’t let anyone rush you or tell you what you are feeling is wrong.

There will be times when you will need to take some time for yourself wherever you are in your grieving process. When you are up to it, find things you enjoy doing and slowly bring yourself back to happiness, one step at a time.

Respect the process

Remember that the bereavement process can be a long one and it is important to embrace and respect what you are experiencing, as long as you remain healthy and taking care of yourself in the process. Your loved one would want you to stay healthy and celebrate their love and the good times you had together.

I got my settlement letter on Wednesday. It’s a day I honestly never actually thought I would see. I wanted to sincerely thank you and your team for all of your hard work and time. I think it’s also important that you hear how much your work not only made a financial difference for my family to catch up from all of the medical expenses, but more importantly, that we don't have to worry about our financial future with my husband being gone. — Jen D.