Preparing for and coping when someone close to you is dying or has died is a very significant event in our lives. Family and carers will experience a loss (bereavement) and grief when a loved one has died from an upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.
You may have shared in and cared for your loved one at the end of their life, and for many this will have been a great privilege.
It will now be about finding ways to live with that loss. Grieving for your loved one is normal, and we all experience this in different ways, it may affect your emotions, wellbeing and behaviours.
The period of grief can also occur over very different timeframes for each individual, so be patient with yourself.
If you feel like you are getting stuck in your grief it is important to get some support – speak to a trusted friend or your GP for advice.
“Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best that you can”.
Seeking professional help for your grief
Some people find talking through their grief with a professional beneficial. Psychologists and counsellors are trained in guiding people through personal problems. Everything discussed is confidential (private).
Your GP or support team will be able to provide you with a referral to a professional service. Some counsellors are covered under a Medicare rebate, for which you may be able to have your session covered under Medicare or pay a small gap fee. To be entitled to this, you must have a mental health care plan from your doctor. A mental health care plan provides you with up to 10 sessions of counselling per year with a Medicare rebate. Speak with your GP for further information.
Pancare Foundation have a supportive, free telehealth counselling service available that you may find valuable.
> The Cancer Council Understanding Grief (pdf) is a guide for family and friends when a loved one has died of cancer
> Griefline provides support and a range of counselling options for all people experiencing grief and loss.
You may not be ready to consider this topic now, but we are here for you, your family and carers to come to later when you feel ready, should you wish.