We know this is hard

Your loved one has died from colorectal cancer, and your heart is broken. Grief is a natural reaction to loss. But there are ways to manage the pain.

How it may feel to lose someone

As you begin to heal, you will find that some pieces of life don’t fit anymore, and, surprisingly, you will find new ones that comfort you.

Changing routine

Adjusting to a new routine without caregiving can be disorienting. Remember that it's normal to feel uncertain about how to use your time.

Symbolic losses

You may miss bonds with your loved one's medical team and the sense of purpose caregiving provided. It's a form of loss.


It's common to miss the emotional rewards of caregiving. Allow yourself to feel and forgive any conflicting emotions.

Feeling relief

It's OK to feel relieved that your loved one is no longer suffering. This doesn't diminish your love or dedication.

Grief's timeline

Grief doesn't have a set schedule. Emotional highs and lows are normal and usually decrease in intensity over time. Healing can't be rushed.

Spiritual questioning

Grief may lead to deep questions about life and belief. Discuss these thoughts with trusted friends or professionals.

One-on-one support

The Alliance's toll-free Helpline is staffed by certified patient and family support navigators. Give us a call at (877) 422-2030. We're ready to listen.

Ways to cope with loss

Grief is a natural reaction to losing a friend, loved one, or family member. It hurts, and it can be debilitating. But don't give in to vices like food, drugs, or alcohol, as these will only delay the natural grieving process and prolong your suffering.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests the following behaviors to cope with loss in a healthy way.

Embrace grief: Allow yourself to feel the pain of loss. Grieving is a natural and necessary process.

Open up: Talk openly about your loss with trusted friends, family, and professionals. Sharing emotions can help you process and release feelings.

Cope with creativity: Express yourself through art, writing, or music. Creative outlets can provide emotional relief.

art therapy

Stay active: Consider walking, running, or cycling. Physical activity can help manage your feelings.

Take breaks: Pause from your grieving occasionally. Balance sorrow with pleasant activities and supportive social interactions.

Keep a routine: Maintain a structure for your day. Familiar activities and places offer a sense of stability.

Forgive yourself: Let go of past regrets. We all make mistakes in relationships, and it's OK to let go.

Be patient: Allow your grief to have its own timeline. Your healing process is personal and unique.

Practice self-care: Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being. Taking care of yourself is crucial during a period of loss.

Find a support group: Support groups offer communal understanding. Sharing experiences can provide emotional support and comfort.

Grief is a burden you can’t carry alone. Don’t be afraid to talk about it with others.

Marianne Pearson
Senior Director of Patient Navigation

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