Anticipatory Grief – What to Expect

During the stages of your illness, any changes in your condition will mean that you grieve for the gradual losses in your present lifestyle and your hopes and plans for the future. You may experience uncertainty about yourself because so few of your former activities and interests are available to you. This creates emotional stresses and anxiety for you and your family.

You may experience grief reactions:

  • In a different way than others
  • That cause fatigue
  • Because of continual changes in daily activities
  • That show up in all spheres of our life – psychological, social, physical and spiritual
  • That vary depending upon how you perceive the changes

You may experience grief that:

  • Entails mourning for the hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations
  • Involves a wide variety of feelings and reactions; some expected, some not
  • Resurrects old issues, feelings and unresolved conflicts from the past
  • Includes intense feelings due to the unfamiliarity of the grieving experience and uncertainty about your illness

You may experience feeling:

  • A combination of anger and depression: irritability, frustration, annoyance and intolerance
  • Guilt in some form
  • A lack of self-concern and self-esteem
  • Spasms of acute upsurges of grief that occur without warning
  • Unsure of decisions: poor memory, organization and concentration
  • Like you are going crazy
  • Obsessed with dying or preoccupied with thoughts of how you will die

You may experience grief for:

  • The loss of many things, both tangible and symbolic
  • What you have lost already as well as for future plans

You may experience concern for:

  • Meaning in your life and question your beliefs
  • Yourself socially acting in different ways than usual
  • Unrealistic expectations from others about your grief
  • Feeling like a burden to your family

Remember, you may want to call Hospice for support.

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