Caring for a loved one with melanoma brings its own set of both practical and emotional challenges. We often don’t know what questions to ask, how best to support our loved one, or where to get help.
Cancer Caregivers’ Guidebook This free publication from Novartis takes you through the stages of caregiving and provides lots of good information, including lists of questions to ask your loved one’s doctor, checklists for yourself, and links to other resources. Available as a .pdf booklet or in audio book format. https://www.hcp.novartis.com/care-management/
Support Groups and Peer to Peer Mentoring
Imerman Angels offers peer to peer support for caregivers as well as patients.
David Kessler: The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life’s Final Chapter The Needs of the Dying helps us through the last chapter of our lives.Author David Kessler identifies key areas of concern: the need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain. Examining the physical and emotional experiences of life-challenging illnesses, Kessler provides a vocabulary for family members and for the dying that allows them to communicate with doctors, with hospital staff, and with one another, and—at a time when the right words are exceedingly difficult to find—he helps readers find a way to say good-bye. Using comforting and touching stories, he provides information to help us meet the needs of a loved one at this important time in our lives.
Dealing with Grief
Our over-all message to melanoma patients and caregivers is one of hope--hope that is justified by the great strides being made in melanoma research, Unfortunately, hope is dashed for some of us and we are left to deal with the grief of losing a spouse, child, parent, or loved one.
Books on Grief
Practical resources: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss In her book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the world to the now-famous five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On Grief and Grieving applies these stages to the process of grieving and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, It is filled with brief, topic-driven stories. It includes sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, coping, children, healing, isolation, and even the subject of sex during grief.
David Kessler, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief Kessler, Kubler-Ross’s collaborator, builds on her work to introduce an additional stage of loss: finding meaning.
Hope Edelman, After Grief: Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss Drawing on her own encounters with the ripple effects of early loss, as well as on interviews with dozens of researchers, therapists, and regular people who’ve been bereaved, New York Times bestselling author Hope Edelman offers profound advice for reassessing loss and adjusting the stories we tell ourselves about its impact on our identities. With guidance for reframing a story of loss, finding equilibrium within it, and even experiencing renewed growth and purpose in its wake, she demonstrates that though grief is a lifelong process, it doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle.
Megan Devine, It’s Ok that You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.
Flora Baker, The Adult Orphan Club Flora Baker was only twenty when her mother died suddenly of cancer. Her coping strategy was simple: ignore the magnitude of her loss. But when her dad became terminally ill nine years later, Flora was forced to confront the reality of grief. In The Adult Orphan Club, Baker draws on her experience with grief and parent loss to explore the many chaotic ways that grief affects us, and how we can learn to navigate it.
Memoirs and inspirational resources: C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed A classic work on grief, this is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss after his wife’s death.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking This powerful memoir by one of America’s most celebrated writers chronicles the year following the death of her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, from a massive heart attack on December 30, 2003, while the couple's only daughter, Quintana, lay unconscious in a nearby hospital suffering from pneumonia and septic shock.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Notes on Grief Notes on Griefis a work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's beloved father’s death in the summer of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world, and kept Adichie and her family members separated from one another, her father succumbed unexpectedly to complications of kidney failure. Adichie shares how this loss shook her to her core. She writes about being one of the millions of people grieving this year; about the familial and cultural dimensions of grief and also about the loneliness and anger that are unavoidable in it.
Kevin Young,The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing The Art of Losingincludes 150 poems that embrace the pain and heartbreak of mourning. Among the poets included ar Elizabeth Alexander, W. H. Auden, Amy Clampitt, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Louise Gluck, Ted Hughes, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Philip Larkin, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, Marianne Moore, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, Derek Walcott, and James Wright.
Martha W. Hickman, Healing after Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief A year of short daily inspirational reflections
MAC is working with partners to organize a series of virtual conversations for melanoma caregivers and loved ones who are dealing with end-of life issues and bereavement. Watch this space for more details.