Anticipatory Grief refers to that miserable feeling that you experience before a loss. This is the loss you anticipate before it happens, thinking about which makes you suffer. This kind of loss is often related to the diagnosed terminal illness of a close friend or family member, and you know that the loss is much more than what it looks like in the present.
This pain is similar to conventional Grief, which happens after the loss. But this is somewhat different as the individual already determines the loss and is prepared for it. A very common example of anticipatory Grief is cancer, where the close relatives know that this illness may or may not be cured, and the patient may lose their life.
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Can Anticipatory Grief be Complicated?
Grieving is not much complicated when the loss can not be predicted. It is a one-time pain. But when the losses can be anticipated, they create a huge complicacy. Even if the loss happens or not, anticipatory Grief can be experienced, providing more pain as the person stands in the middle of the road unaware of the actual loss.
The pain feels more when you keep thinking about it. From the moment of diagnosis to the actual outcome, every moment becomes difficult to handle as the Grief gets multiplied with increasing time. So, yes, anticipatory Grief is very complicated.
What Feelings does a Person have while having Anticipatory Grief?
Some say that if you know about the losses in advance, you get time to be prepared and deal with the situation calmly. Like, if a life-threatening illness is detected in advance, others can spend their time with that person, and end-of-life preferences could be completed, so there is no regret.
But with all these responsibilities comes a great set of mixed and confusing emotions like the frustration of not being able to do anything, the sadness of losing the person, anxiety of hopes, denial of the situation, blaming yourself for not taking care, etc. These emotions are difficult to handle when the loss is just anticipated and not actual.
At times people deny these emotions hoping that the loss will not happen. They even start questioning themselves for feeling those emotions. But tables turn around when expectations become unexpectations. Thus, the anticipatory grief situation may sometimes get out of control.
How can one Handle?
It is not uncommon for one to have difficulty in handling anticipatory Grief. This feeling of pain at some point in time makes it critical for you to perform any task with a stable mind. Unfortunately, before initiating any work, a preoccupied mindset always consumes your extra efforts and energy.
In such situations, when you feel burdensome, the best thing you can do is consult a professional who has experienced. That professional can be anyone, a senior citizen, a psychiatrist, anyone. When you have someone to share your feelings with, you feel lighter; you gather strength even if you are able to handle the present situation; what if the situation gets worse?
Thus, seeking help from someone during anticipatory Grief can be helpful to be strong enough and prepare for the outcomes.