#LCSM Chat Topic 6/1: Community Grief: Dealing with our Cumulative Losses


There are many advantages to being an active participant in a cancer community: fellowship, access to information, advocacy and support, to name just a few. There is one major challenge, however, that comes along with this sense of community: some of our friends die. Whether in real life or online, strong connections are made with our fellow patients and caregivers. How do we cope with these seemingly unrelenting losses, and find the strength to go on? Please join us on Thursday, June 1, at 5 PM Pacific, 8 PM Eastern, as we explore this sensitive topic, using the following questions to gently guide the discussion. If you’re new to tweet chats, read this primer first.

T1: How do you initially cope with a community cancer loss (cry, withdraw, talk, etc.)?

T2: Does it make a difference if you’ve met the person in real life or knew him/her online only? How so?

T3: Have you experienced survivor’s (or caretaker’s) guilt, and if so, how do you deal with it?

T4: Does meeting a survivor in person increase the impact of his/her death? How about his/her personal story? Explain.

T5: How does a community death make you feel about your own mortality? How do you deal with those feelings?

T6: How can we as a community reach out to the bereaved family? How can we support them, and each other?

Helpful Terms:

Anticipatory grief
Often starts when the patient gets a significant diagnosis and their health begins to deteriorate. There could be aspects of the person in your care that you already feel are lost such as changes in personality or physical abilities. Feelings are related to the loss of what was, or what you thought life was going to be like. It can be difficult to speak with others about anticipatory grief because the person you care for is still alive, and you have feelings of guilt or confusion as to why you are feeling this kind of grief.

Cumulative grief
This type of grief occurs when you experience multiple losses, often within a short period of time. Cumulative grief can be stressful because you don’t have time to properly grieve one loss before experiencing the next.

Collective grief
Collective grief is felt by a group. This could be experienced by a community, city, or country.


Grieving in Community

When I Die

Tangled Thoughts from a Restless Mind

On Death

A Tiny Glimpse

Advocating in Public; Crying in the Shower

Coping with Grief

Grief, Bereavement and Coping with Loss



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