Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Ferndale, WA, anticipatory grief is something that we feel as we face the impending death of someone that we love. It may be that they are suffering from a terminal illness or a chronic illness that will end in death.
We grieve, anticipating their absence in our lives and what that will mean for us after they are gone. But our loved one also may be experiencing anticipatory grief in another form known as preparatory grief, where they are mourning what they are leaving behind when they die.
Anticipatory grief is different from the grief that we will experience after our loved one dies. Anticipatory grief mourns losses in terms of relationships. It anticipates the loss of a companion, as well as changes in family roles and relationships. It can include fears about the financial impact that a loved one’s death will have, and it can include the loss of shared plans for a future that will now never be realized.
Since no grieving happens in a void, anticipatory grief can revive grief over previous losses, which can become overwhelming at times. Anticipatory grief is also unique because while it may include anger at the impending loss, it more often consists of sadness and a seeming loss of emotional control when those thoughts about what will happen when our loved one dies come to the forefront of our minds.
Anticipatory grief is different for each individual. It often sneaks up to the surface when nothing extraordinary is going on. For example, your loved one may love the spring and summer. You may be out walking in the brilliant colors of autumn or in the first snowfall of winter and suddenly you realize that spring and summer have passed and your loved one will never see either one again and the tears start falling.
Anticipatory grief often also juxtaposes the past with the present. You may be listening to the radio and a song comes on that takes you back to a time with your loved one when they were healthy and you were enjoying life with them. That immediately gets placed side by side with the present, in which they are dying and may be so weak or incapacitated that they are confined to bed. You grieve as you look to the future, realizing that the past will never be again, and even the present will change to a time down the road when your loved one will no longer be around at all.
However, anticipatory grief has some benefits. It gives us time to make amends, to get closure, to reconcile, and to give or express forgiveness. In preparatory grief on the part of our loved ones, this may be a time for them to make peace, offer apologies, and clear their consciences of anything in their lives that is unresolved.
Anticipatory grief can also enable us to share our hearts with our loved ones and tell them how much we love them and care about them. We can tell them how much they matter to us and why, and how much we’re going to miss them when they’re gone.
In effect, this is our opportunity to leave nothing unsaid and nothing regretted. We get to say goodbye the way we need to before it’s too late.
For additional information about grief resources and cremation services, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Ferndale is here to help. We also serve the areas of Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA. You can visit our funeral home at 2039 Main St., Ferndale, WA 98248, or you can call us today at (360) 384-1391.