The holidays are a magical time for many families.
However, when your loved one has mesothelioma, the holidays can be painful.
As a caregiver, it is natural to experience extreme sadness, grief, and anger during the holiday season.
Lighting the Christmas tree or Hanukkah candles may only highlight the pain and sadness you feel at the idea of spending one final holiday with your loved one. How can you handle the holidays when your loved one has mesothelioma?
Understanding Anticipatory Grief & the Holidays
If your loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, they may only have a short time left. The average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months. As such, many family members enter the holiday season already dealing with the grief of losing their loved one in the near future.
Anticipatory grief is a common emotion experienced by caregivers and family members when a loved one is terminally ill. This grief occurs in the time between when a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma and when they actually pass away. This grief is often highlighted during the holiday season.
During the holidays, caregivers may feel more pressure than usual to make this the best holiday ever. This creates a sense of urgency that can heighten the impending loss. Trying to be cheerful and festive at a time of grief can make surviving the holidays feel like an impossible task.
Managing Grief During the Holidays
Being a part of your loved one’s final holiday celebration can be painful. However, it can also be a gift to treasure for many reasons. To enjoy the holidays with your loved one, it is important to learn how to manage your grief.
While everyone’s process of grieving is different, experts urge family members to try and come to terms with the reality that this may be their loved one’s last holiday. Shying away from the unpleasant realities only makes the grieving process worse. In coming to terms with your loved one’s terminal illness, you may open the door for important conversations that can have a significant impact on your future.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, managing your grief may not be easy. However, it can be done.
Consider the following suggestions for making this a holiday you will never forget.
- Be open to conversations about end of life care
- Share stories and happy memories
- Encourage your loved one to reminisce and share family history
- Allow yourself to feel emotions of all kinds
- Allow your loved one to feel emotional
- Make sure your loved one is involved in festivities
- Encourage your loved one to help with decorating, cooking, and other traditions
- Adapt traditions and celebrations to help them participate
- Be open to forgiveness and repairing relationships
- Seek counseling or therapy for support
A terminal illness, like mesothelioma, has a way of putting things into perspective during the holiday season. However, it can also cause tension to build between family members. To avoid unpleasant holiday quarrels, try to keep the lines of communication open among family members. Encourage open dialogue and shared feelings whenever possible. Make it a priority to be gentle and understanding of everyone’s emotions during this holiday season.
If you need additional support through the holiday season to manage your grief, consider speaking to a mental health professional or attend grief support groups. In addition, there are hospice providers available that can offer support to both your loved one and your family during this time.
Has Your Loved One Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak to a Louisiana personal injury attorney immediately. Without an attorney on your side, you may not be able to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Landry & Swarr is a New Orleans personal injury law firm with a focus on mesothelioma. We have helped numerous Louisiana clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you or a family member feel that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.