Humor Can Trigger Both Grief and Relief for Families of Mesothelioma Victims – Blog

Despite the best efforts of researchers and physicians, malignant mesothelioma remains an aggressive and relentless form of cancer, often moving so quickly that it claims the lives of patients within months of diagnosis. The loved ones left behind experience emotions ranging from sadness and loss to intense anger at the asbestos companies that could have prevented the exposure that caused the disease. Now a study is examining the role that humor can play to both exacerbate and relieve those emotions.
Losing a beloved family member or friend strikes everybody differently, and those who lose loved ones to mesothelioma are no exception. Donna Wilson is a nursing professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, and she recently published a study that revealed the role that humor plays following a death.
Her findings, which conclude that humor can trigger both intense grief and aid in the recovery process, will likely ring true to those who have lost loved ones to mesothelioma. She says that grief can be triggered by thoughts, memories, anniversaries, and more, and that humor can be a powerful and incapacitating grief trigger. 
Though Wilson’s research did not specifically seek those who had lost loved ones to mesothelioma, her conclusions apply to all who mourn. Seventy percent of those she interviewed identified humor as a trigger, and eighty percent said that humor had helped with their recovery, particularly if telling funny stories about the deceased was viewed as a respectful way of remembering them. 
The study recounts one participant explaining, “Humor is what made it possible for me to live. I looked forward to the times I could laugh or smile; I could get a break from my grief. I even started searching for humor, every day I looked for funny stories or cartoon jokes, so each day I could laugh and be lifted out of my grief.”
If you have lost a loved one to malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you have the support that you need. For information and resources, contact the Patient Advocates at today at
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