For those who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma — and those who love them — the holidays can be particularly challenging. While those around you are raucously celebrating the New Year and wishing each other all good things, patients and their families look forward with a certainty that the coming year will bring more pain and grief. The happiness of others serves as a stark contrast to your own feelings. Dealing with what is called anticipatory grief is particularly hard while others around you are joyous.
Malignant Mesothelioma and Anticipatory Grief
Anticipatory grief is what both mesothelioma patients and those who care for them and about them begin to experience from the time of diagnosis, and it lasts until the time that the patient finally succumbs to the disease. Though there may be a significant reprieve based on successful treatment and the particular patient’s prognosis, nothing can change the fact that malignant mesothelioma is always considered terminal.
This type of grief is extremely difficult. Though you may be grateful for the opportunity to attend to arrangements, to spend time with loved ones imparting important messages, and even to indulging in pursuing bucket list items, it is always with the knowledge of the hard days and sadness that lie ahead.
Dealing With Anticipatory Grief While Everybody Around You Is Celebrating
The New Year puts pressure on everybody to be cheerful and optimistic, as January 1st tends to hold the promise of improvement and a new start. Mesothelioma patients may be too exhausted or ill to participate, and this can put pressure on their loved ones, who may want to celebrate but who feel guilt at doing so. Those loved ones may also be stricken by their anticipation of the mourning that is to come.
According to psychologists, the holiday season heightens the sense of loss for mesothelioma patients. There are so many memories tied up with them, and because there are so many traditions involved it is easy to look forward to the next celebration and picture the empty chair at the table. The best way to manage this grief during the holidays is to be open and honest about the impending loss so that you can fully appreciate the time that you have left. Take the time to talk about what is important and to say what is important now. That will make what may be the last holiday together both memorable and meaningful.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need support, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.