Anticipatory Grief

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.

6 responses to “Anticipatory Grief

  1. Oh, this is such a valuable post! Yes! You did have a gift, and that gift made you aware, so you made sure not to miss a single moment! We all waste so many moments, because we think we have forever. And we don’t. This post reminds me to live today as though I knew it was my last! Thank you!

  2. We are in a situation of the “unknown.” The doctors cannot predict any time-frame, let alone exactly which organ is going to fail first…During this time, my husband and I have found the most wonderful gift of supporting each other through each day and night, and truly understanding what the other is feeling Your blog hit a cord for us today. We CAN find some blessings through this; our relationship has never been better. No more squabbling over petty matters! Every moment counts.

  3. We had 5 days. We thought it would be weeks and not days. We spent those days in shock I think, because to this day we have very few clear memories of those days-except the last day. Those memories are far too clear.

  4. When my mom received her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, we all had hope that she could beat it. But we soon found out that the odds were against her. I used the time I had left with my mom to make peace, repair what had broken, and to let her know how much I loved her. In the end, it never felt like I had done enough, but I am grateful for that time.

  5. “the gift of his presence while we waited to say goodbye”

  6. What a gift, indeed. {hugs}

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