When you have Cancer and a friend suddenly dies….

When were are experiencing a Cancer diagnosis, going through treatment or when treatment ends we can become intensively focused on our illness. Worrying if the Cancer will come back, stressing over how the treatment has affected us and trying desperately to find our “new normal”.

We can feel isolated, and disconnected, feeling that we are “different” to others. Often others have moved on and we still feel stuck in it, alone and often fearful.

But what happens when someone we love, a friend or family member dies suddenly during this time? They die of an accident, a sudden illness, something completely unrelated to Cancer. Perhaps it is someone quite young also, this isn’t meant to happen!

These sudden deaths can be very difficult to deal with, particularly at a time where we are questioning our own mortality.

It brings home that we are all vulnerable to this fragile life of impermanence and change. As humans we have a totally fictitious concept of reality. We don’t see it as it really is at all. We see everything as fixed, under control and unchanging. We think we are in control and when a sudden death arises it leaves us shocked and feeling very vulnerable.

Soon after my first Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2004 a very close friend died quite suddenly. She was also very young and healthy, no-one was expecting it.

Everyone was so focused on my health and I felt a lot of difficult emotions during this time. Along with the loss and grief I felt a little guilty. Wasn’t I the one who was expected to die? I also felt very disconnected from friends and family, lost in my own feelings of uncertainty.

At this time I was a “baby Buddhist” and did not have much wisdom to draw from. What I did come to realise though, was that we are all the same.

Whilst I did have an aggressive form of Cancer I was no different from anyone else. It became clear to me that we all have the same vulnerabilities, the same precious impermanent life.

I think the only way we can move forward is to honour our own life in this precious moment. To live each day fully with as much compassion and love for others and ourselves as we can muster.

I believe we are all here for exactly the right amount of time to experience and play out our own karma and progression. We are also here to interlink with others and their experiences and even our death eventually shapes their lives too.

So keep shining your beautiful light dear ones and allow that light to become a beacon for others…

This I believe is our true purpose….

Love & blessings


Counseller and Meditation Teacher and leader at Faith Hope & Healing