Grief, Anger, and Coping With Loss

It was my six-month cancer call with the oncologist recently. Thankfully my bullet-dodging skills seem to be in good shape. Two years after completing 36 months of hormone therapy and nearly four years since my last ride in the radiotherapy donut, my PSA stands at 0.41.

Back in February it measured 0.23, so although it has nearly doubled, the figures are still small. With testosterone back in my system, and a welcome drop in side effects, this was to be expected.

So far so good, but if my PSA were to hit 2 then all kinds of alarm bells will start to sound. Obviously, things don’t always go right, which got me thinking about grief and loss and how we deal with those two tormentors.

What grief looks like

I’m guessing many people reading this will have heard the phrase or perhaps even used it themselves. It usually comes in the form of a question: “Is there anything I can do to help you get through this?”

Perhaps I need to back up a little. Some explanation is required. In Hollywood when a character is hit with a life-wrenching event such as the death of a friend or child, a certain amount of destruction seems to be required. Televisions will be smashed on to coffee tables and crockery swept to the floor. Good visual shorthand for grief and anger.

Perhaps it’s my staid middle-class upbringing, but in times of grief our glassware has little to fear as all the action takes place off stage in my head. The hurt and anger is internalized, which is not much use to a film director.

Read on…