Drug testing

Why Dont We Talk About Anticipatory Grief?

I know anticipatory grief - a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs - far too well. My mother suffered from probable Alzheimer's disease and I was her caregiver for nine years. As time passed she lost the ability to reason, track numbers, read a book, understand TV, create sentences, and finally, the ability to speak.

Every time I was with her I wanted to cry.

Anticipatory grief is a hard journey and nobody can take it for us. Some experts think anticipatory grief is worse than post-death grief because we're always on alert, waiting for the end to come. Grieving people wear black arm bands in some cultures. I wish I was wearing an arm band when I saw a friend at the grocery store.

"Hi Harriet, how are you?" she asked. Had I been truthful I would have said I felt awful. But I didn't say that I said, "Fine, how are you?" Why don't we talk about anticipatory grief? There are lots of reasons.

- Most people have never heard the term, so we would have to stop and explain it.

- We fail to see the anticipatory grief in our lives or the power it has over us.

- If we shared our feelings we would break down and sob.

- Our family culture prevents us from being open with others.

- People may think we're weak and lack "backbone."

- Funny stories are what people want to hear, not sad ones.

- We're afraid people will avoid us.

Some years ago our family was struck by one crisis after another. My husband and I became known as the sad news couple. Many people didn't want to hear our news for fear they would catch it like a bad cold. In their minds anticipatory grief was a contagious disease.

But I'm a grandmother now, older, wiser, and more resilient. Life experience has given me the courage to say, "I'm having an anticipatory grief day."

Chances are you've had anticipatory grief days, too. Maybe you're grieving for a child with chronic illness, a job shift, moving out of the home you loved, your retirement date, a dying pet, or a parent in hospice. I hope you'll learn from my experience and tell people you're going through anticipatory grief.

We grieve because we care. Anticipatory grief shapes our lives, helps to define who we are, and who we were meant to be. Let's talk about it.

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson. For more information on her work please go to www.harriethodgson.com.

Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 26 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Her latest book, Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available on http://www.amazon.com. Hodgson is hard at work on her next book, Doctor in the House: An Inside Look at Medical Marriage.

limousine chicago service
In The News:

The Lesson of a Mothers Death

Dedicated to my mother, FlorenceNovember 11, 1920 ? May 25,... Read More

The Valley of Sorrow or My Life as a Well Digger

It felt like I had been run over by a... Read More

Grief Support: The Don?ts

1) Don't try to make the grieving person feel better.... Read More

In the Blink of an Eye

Today's Quote: "My house is burned down, but I can... Read More

Handicapped From Suicide

I am 23 years old. I come from a large... Read More

Suicide - An Eternal Pain

Suicide is the one form of death that has quite... Read More

Death, Close and Personal

I got an email recently from someone whose mother died.... Read More

Men and Grief

Men grieve differently from women. Our cultural roles make it... Read More

You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)

I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.That sounds... Read More

Suicide Survivor

Suicide is a nightmare for survivors of loved ones. Death... Read More

Dying? Not Me! Why You Should Plan for Transition

Remember the Eulogy projects we had to write back in... Read More

Understanding Grief and Loss in Times of War and Disaster

There are many different kinds of losses we can experience... Read More

Silent Tears - from a Norwegian Hospital

Silent tears hit hospital-white sheets. The young Pakistani mother holds... Read More

Are We All Losers? Understanding Grief

The well-known pioneer researcher Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five states... Read More

Euthanasia: How Will I Know When its Time?

Pippin needed assistance from his owner to get to his... Read More

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Justin was a typical ten year old boy. He liked... Read More

Death Poem

During the two years of my husband's terminal illness, death... Read More

What this Rabbi Learned from Not being Re-hired

It's a familiar story, and I have been through it... Read More

Signs After Suicide: The Red Butterfly

Shortly after noon, I went into Arlyn's bedroom to get... Read More

Who has the Worst Pain

During the 28 years I have been interacting with bereaved... Read More

Guilty, Your Honor: The Burden of Guilt After a Suicide

Guilty, Your Honor, I whisper.Have you ever done anything so... Read More

The Twists and Turns of Life

When I was born in 1962 I thought life was... Read More

Beyond A Mothers Nightmare To Radical Forgiveness

It was a moment I will never forget.On February 22,... Read More

How to Deal with Suicide and Euthenasia

The following is a report that indicates how you might... Read More

Angelo Dies

Angelo C, was a good man that never did any... Read More

high bay lights led light bulbs for sale Pete's produce ..