By Cheryline Lawson
Anticipating grief is never an easy thing. The thought that our loved one is going to die is not a consoling fact. Anticipatory grief is the period during which a patient or family member expects to die. Anticipatory grief is quite similar to the after effects of losing a loved one. The emotions are no less different than when one experiences a tragic and sudden death of a loved one. It is the same loss and it hurts just as bad. It comes with some of the same feelings of guilt, shock and denial and is associated with cultural, and social reactions to the loss.
Anticipatory grief creates tremendous concern for the person who is dying, fearful preparation of the departure of their loved one, and making the adjustments to life without the loved one. The only difference between anticipating grief and dealing with a tragic loss is that it gives the family some time to make plans and to spend more time with the person as well as accepting the reality of their loss.
There is time to forgive where any unforgiveness exist. There is time to talk about things that were kept in secret. There is time to carry out the wishes of the one who will die and time to make any amends to the relationship.
Some people may not experience anticipatory grief because of denial. The grief will take place after losing their loved one. It is the same grieving process and doesn't make it any better to endure. The grief experienced before a death does not shorten the grief after death. Each individual grieves differently and the time it will take depends on many different factors.
Grief that occurs when someone dies tragically or suddenly can be more overwhelming than anticipatory grief because of the trauma and shock, which comes with it. There is no time to spend with the loved one and no warning signs. This puts the person in a corner to confront the unexpected, which can lessen the coping abilities of that person and make normalcy seem distant.
The impact of their loss may not be realized right away and acceptance is hard to imagine. The life of that person may not make sense and the emotional repercussions will develop into insurmountable problems if not dealt with right away.
There are some people who may believe that anticipatory grief is unusual. However, it can happen to anyone of us and being prepared for it is not realistic. Acceptance to the possibility of the death of your loved one will leave you feeling that you are abandoning that person. There is no way to explain the emptiness and fear of the future. An expectation of the loss may only create an attachment to the dying person even stronger, which does not make it any easier to accept the inevitable. The dying person also experiences grief and this makes it harder for everyone involved.
No matter how our loved one dies, the process of grief seems to be very similar in nature in all cases. It all depends on each individual and how much they deal with grief in their lives.
About Cheryline Lawson
Cheryline Lawson is the mother who has been on an emotional journey of losing her only child and has written a book titled, "Coping with Grief," and is giving proceeds of the book back to a support group that is helping grieving families.
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