Struggling with grief and concentration

Its been almost 9 months since my Grandpa died of cancer, but still struggling to come to terms with everything. Im not sure if its been harder as I saw him in agonising pain before he died and then watched life slowly leave his body before he passed around close family.
Its been incredibly difficult as I’ve been away at university during this and forced myself to continue as this was my ultimate dream and its what my Grandpa would have wanted. Unfortunately I struggled and fell behind but given I’m an emotional person kept things bottled up as it was a healthcare course I wanted to remain professional and didn’t want to be crying all the time.
Unfortunately due to my grieving and my mind being on all sorts of other things with my Grandpas passing and worrying about my Nana, my concentration this whole year has been very limited and I have sadly been terminated from this course as I didn’t show enough progress to move on, I’m absolutely heartbroken.
I am going to appeal to resit the year in view of this as I know I can do it in the right mind set.
I’ve found at present I am very forgetful and cannot concentrate on much at all.
Is there anyone who has any useful tips on grieving or helping with concentration?
If I get the chance to resit the year I need to myself back to my normal self so I can work to my full potential and make my Grandpa proud.

Hi Mel,

I’m part of the community team here and I’ve read your post. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Grandpa. 9 months is not long. Grief has no time limit, it’s understandable that you are struggling right now.

Of course you have found your course harder when you are grieving, this is expected. It’s natural for your thoughts to wander and to find it more difficult to concentrate. It’s very brave of you to continue with your course given the circumstances. That in itself would make your Grandpa proud. But I can understand the frustration of not having reached your full potential and your decision to appeal.

Have you a personal tutor at your university that you can explain the situation to? Have you visited your GP, or the student health service? Your GP may be able to contact the department themselves to explain the situation and how it has affected you.

You might want to try dividing your studies into smaller chunks of time than you would normally, and taking things one step at a time. Be gentle with yourself. There is nothing to be gained from being frustrated at yourself for a common response to loss.

Take care,


Hi Kate, thanks for your reply.
Its difficult as the tutors cannot help with the situation or discuss anything given the appeal and most are on annual leave now for the summer.
I haven’t visited my GP, I feel like I’m taking someone else’s appt as I am not ill and getting an appt is difficult enough I would feel guilty taking that.
I haven’t looked into the student services. I was offered them a few months after he passed but I was extremely emotional at that time and given I need to remain professional tried to keep it bottled in, admittedly that did not help. But now I’m technically not a student I don’t think those services would be available to me.
I have contacted a charity in my area for some help and advice but again they are on annual leave at present.

Hi Mel,

Sometimes we do find the need to avoid the situations in order to cope so I can completely understand why you felt unable to use the student services at the time. Sometimes we’re just not ready and need to wait until we are.

Please don’t worry about taking someone’s place by visiting your GP. Many people visit their doctor when they are bereaved as they are often able to refer people to counselling and other support services in the local area. It might help to get this support, whether or not they help with the appeal? Although they may be able to write a note to your university to support the appeal.

Remember there is no rush or set path to complete your healthcare course. There are always other options, a plan b. Give yourself the support and care you need and remember your wellbeing always comes number one.


Hi Mel,

My Mum was ill over my time at uni and died during my third year. I had to take a leave of absence in the end because I couldn’t keep up. My brain has died with Mum. My concentration is shot. I miss her. I’m looking at going back part time but I’m terrified I won’t be able to do it. No words of advice but wanted to let you know you’re not alone.


Hi Lost,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum during your third year of uni. It is sad that you and Mel have both suffered this impact on your studies, on top of your bereavement.

Would your uni be near family, or would you have friends nearby to support you while you were there?

I take some supplements that help me steady my nerves and help with concentration.
They are from an ethical company but I am not allowed - I don’t think - to mention names or the actual supplements I use.

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