Monday, October 19, 2015

Anticipatory Grief | Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care

 "When a loved one is seriously ill or dying, you may feel the pain and sorrow of anticipatory grief.  It’s normal to feel shocked or devastated. A diagnosis of terminal illness may set off complex emotions in the family, ranging from fear to depression.  Make the most of the time you have left with your loved ones by learning to deal with these feelings.

Anticipatory grief is how you feel and react when your loved one is seriously ill, and it can be just as intense as the grief felt after a death. It’s a normal process, although not every person experiences it.  Grieving now does not mean that you will feel more or less grief after death. Every person reacts differently.

You may experience fear, guilt or anxiety. You may fear being alone, fear losing your independence or your social life. These fears are not limited to family and caregivers and even the dying person may feel a sense of fear and isolation.

Anticipatory grief is often combined with the exhaustion that comes with being a caregiver. You are aware of the coming death and accepting it will come, bringing a sometimes overwhelming anxiety and dread.

It’s not just death for which you grieve. During sickness you grieve any loss of abilities and independence, loss of cognition, loss of hope, loss of future dreams, loss of stability and security, loss of identity and more.  This grief is not just about accepting the future death, but of the many losses already occurring as an illness progresses.

There can be a positive side to anticipatory grief. It can help family members prepare for what will happen after death, giving you the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, express love and even forgiveness, and to figure out how to let go."

Anticipatory Grief | Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care

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