All about anticipatory grief

Debra Isert,
Palliative Care Coordinator, [780] 523-6438.

Have you ever noticed how much of life is spent anticipating events that are about to happen? What many people don’t understand is that when we learn a loved one is dying we begin to grieve the loss while he or she is still alive.
This experience is known as anticipatory grief.

What might you experience during the period of anticipatory grief?

1. Sadness: You will experience an intense sadness knowing that someone you love is dying and some of your plans will go unfulfilled.

2. Frustration: One day you will be in denial. The next, you may be hopeful your loved one will beat the illness. This ambivalence can be very frustrating.

3. Guilt: You may have said or done things that make you feel guilty.

4. Anger: You may be angry with the doctors, the one who is dying, or God.

5. Loneliness: You may experience loneliness because the person is no longer part of your everyday life.

6. Fear: You are entering unknown territory. You may be afraid of how the disease will run its course. You may fear what life will be like after the person has died.

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