When we have knowledge that an event is going to occur, we begin to anticipate. In most cases, the anticipation is going to be one of excitement and counting the days.
There are times when anticipation has nothing to do with looking forward to an event. There are moments in life that will occur without our consent. We don’t look forward to these moments and usually try not to think about them.
When the doctor told us that our son was going to die within 3 to 6 months, it was as if he had just died. Yet, we knew, at that moment, we had received a gift. We knew that our son was going to die because the cancer was very advanced and spreading to other areas of his body. Jon was going to die, but not right now.
We had received the gift of “knowing” that he was going to die. We were given a time frame, something we could work with. We began to grieve the expected death of our son; yet he was here with us. We truly had the gift of his presence while we waited to say goodbye. We had the gift of anticipatory grief.