Recently while at a caregiver conference I was approached by a gentleman who asked me if it was normal to be grieving before the loss of his terminally ill spouse.
My answer was yes, and I continued to tell him the following.
Anticipatory grief refers to a grief reaction that occurs before a loved one passes away.
Anticipatory grief often comes in the form of emotions including sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, physical distress and more.
Although not everyone experiences anticipatory grief, people who do, can feel the same emotions and sense of mourning as if the person had actually died.
Anticipatory grief is a normal process.
As a caregiver you may experience a wide range of emotions, such as loss, dread, guilt and anxiety.
It is very important to talk to someone about what you are experiencing.
IN the book, Grieving Before A Death: Understanding Anticipatory Grief, I found the following information is helpful!
- Accept that anticipatory grief is normal. …
- Acknowledge your losses. … (loss of a companion, future dreams and growing old together)
- Connect with others. … You may feel totally alone and isolated but you are not alone. Seek out close friends, support groups or even a counselor.
- Remember that anticipatory grief doesn’t mean you are giving up. …
- Reflect on the remaining time. …have pertinent conversations about their end of life wishes.
- …everyone in a family grieves differently, keep lines of communication open.
- Take care of yourself. …find time to do something you like.
- Take advantage of your support system.
- Another good source of information describing grief and loss is the Family Caregiver Alliance website https://www.caregiver.org/grief-and-loss