Anticipatory grief is a natural reaction to impending loss. This loss can be about someone passing away or a significant life change. While nothing can take away the sting of losing someone or something you love, there are ways to navigate anticipatory grief.
Anticipatory grief impacts everyone differently, but you can get through this. These coping tips may help:
By first understanding that it is alright to grieve before a loss takes place, you can take the first steps of coping with anticipatory grief. When you understand it is normal and name how you are feeling, you will be able to work on processing your emotions.
Focus on making memories
There are many ways to honor those you love, which may help your grieving process. Now may be the time to:
- Celebrate holidays and birthdays early
- Record photos and videos together
- Look at family photos or home movies
- Smooth over difficulties and ask for forgiveness
- Help a loved one get their affairs in order
- Talk about common memories and past times
Lean into your existing network
Consider cluing in people about what’s going on with you, be it a partner, friends, family, or your boss. Share as you feel comfortable how they can help you as you are caring for another and navigating anticipatory grief.
Honor your self-care
Self-care doesn’t have to be a long and involved process. It can be found in a simple walk or visit with a friend. Visit the Self-Care page for more information and practical ideas.
Find professional support or a support group
Working with a therapist can help with anticipatory grief. Seek out someone to talk with if you feel like other modes of coping are not working for you. We offer a Caregiver Support Group for caregivers of our current patients. This weekly group is way to connect with others who may be experiencing similar emotions and care situations.
Always remember, there is no formula for how an anticipated loss will impact us because we all grieve differently. We are here to help. If you have questions about anticipatory grief or how to cope with the changes you are experiencing with your loved one, please contact your care team.
Adapted from PsychCentral, https://psychcentral.com/health/anticipatory-grief#how-to-cope.