I enjoy reading grief blogs. They are often witty, inspirational and always personal. But some are written by cynical ‘grief specialists’, each with a unique process for dealing with grief. Now, this is OK for some, but for many of us grief is its own process. Yes, it is good to talk about it, but who you talk to isn’t nearly as important as just talking to someone, anyone. Talking is remembering; it is also about verbalising the jumble of thoughts.

And when the talking is done, comes the thinking. The reflection. The future. Some say it’s important to be positive about the future, to have something to look forward to. I agree with this. Being positive about the experience of your loved one’s death, will empower you. This is why I advocate dealing with dying matters before death. In a sense, this starts the grieving process and the mental preparation for saying good-bye, particularly in terminal illness.

I have read recently that positive thinking messes with the grief process, that positive thinking implies that death is a negative. Well, sometimes death is a negative. Yes, we are grateful that Mom is not suffering from her cancer, but she died too young. There was nothing natural about Mom’s death from lung cancer. It was not part of the natural cycle of life.

Of course, a long and happy life is to be celebrated. In fact, when my Grandmother died aged ninety, we celebrated her life with a tea party. We grieved for the loss of a valued member of our family, but our sadness was tempered by our humorous recollections of her eccentricities.

Take your time, cry, laugh, be negative, be positive. It’s all OK. But don’t do it alone. People are there for you, ready when you are, ready when you want to talk.

Need the links to organisations which can help?

Want to read ‘Positive thinking’ and how it messes with death awareness and grief?

Read more of my grief blog Living with Mom’s cancer or follow me on Twitter.




I am a scientist and a blogger. I have a PhD in the genetics of cardiovascular risk. My Mom died of cancer last year. We learnt a lot and met some amazing people. I want to share with others how to live positively with cancer, and make choices in end-of-life care. My top tip: Ask the difficult questions.

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