Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief

“The pain then is part of the happiness now” is a line from the movie Shadowlands, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. It is based on the story of C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed and the Narnia Chronicles) and his marriage to Joy. When Joy’s cancer is diagnosed, both are thrown into anticipatory grief. It is one form of anticipatory grief. 

Anticipatory grief starts with a sense of loss, worry or concern about self or another. It may be a diagnosis of a terminal illness or a life-limiting illness. Perhaps behaviour that is inconsistent with typical raising suspicion of relationship break-down, substance use, or indications that somebody is missing.

The mind can become preoccupied with looking backward for clues about what happened that led up to the event (generally finding out information) and forward toward what might be coming and worrying about the future. Anticipation can be a waiting place, a time of intense emotions, worry, and concerns.

How Can Changes in Between Help with Anticipatory Grief?

Anticipatory grief can bring with it intense feelings, emotions and thoughts. It can interfere with hope.

As a lived-experience grief counsellor with professional experience, I work with people experiencing the anticipated loss of someone or something special. This is backed up by many hours of training in the field of grief and loss, including non-death losses. More importantly, I can walk beside you in your grief. You set the lead, your experience, your story. Together, we will honour your loss.

Read more about me.

Anticipatory grief | the grief before the death