Understanding Anticipatory Grief: “The Pain Now is Part of the Happiness Then”

“The Pain Now is Part of the Happiness Then”

Inspired by the story of C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy, as portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger in the movie Shadowlands, this line captures the essence of anticipatory grief, a poignant and often misunderstood experience. The pain now (grief) is part of the happiness then (joy and innocence). It teaches us presence to be in the moment with one another and our here-and-now experiences.

What is Anticipatory Grief?

Anticipatory grief refers to the emotional pain and sense of loss experienced before an impending loss occurs. This type of grief can be triggered by various situations, including:

  • Receiving news of a terminal or life-limiting illness.
  • A decline in physical health or mobility.
  • The suspicion that a relationship is changing or may end.
  • Financial stress and the potential need to move homes.
  • Children moving out or relocating.
  • The anticipation of career endings.

The Emotional Burden of Anticipatory Grief

The emotional burden of anticipatory grief can lead to a profound sense of loss, worry, or unease. During this challenging time, it’s natural to dwell on memories and feel anxious about an uncertain future. However, it’s essential to recognise that anticipatory grief can also offer some benefits, such as settling differences, making meaningful connections, and emotionally preparing for letting go.

How Can Changes in Between Help with Anticipatory Grief?

By sharing and understanding anticipatory grief, we can find ways to cope and connect, even in the face of inevitable loss. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and support is available to help you through.

I specialise in providing support and understanding for individuals facing the anticipated loss of a loved one or something significant. As a grief counsellor and coach, I am dedicated to walking alongside you, offering professional expertise and personal insight to help you through this difficult time. My approach is tailored to honour your unique experience, providing a compassionate and guiding presence to help you cope with the emotional challenges of anticipatory grief. I truly understand and empathise with the emotional pain and sense of loss that can be experienced before an impending loss occurs.

If you seek support and guidance during this time, I invite you to book an enquiry call with me. Together, we will explore how I can assist you in navigating anticipatory grief with empathy and care. You don’t have to face this alone, and I am here to offer the support and understanding you deserve.

Learn more about me.

Julie Jensen


Graduate Certificate of Bereavement Counselling & Intervention: Grief Australia 

Grief Coaching: The Institute for Life Coach Training, USA

Professional Certificate End-of-Life-Doula: University of Vermont, USA 

Professional Certificate Companion Animal End-of-Life-Doula: University of Vermont, USA

End of Life Doula Foundation and Intensive Training: Preparing the Way, Australia


Grief Australia: Certified Bereavement Practitioner (CBP-00026). 

Association for Death Education and Counseling, USA: Certified Thanatologist (Study of Death, Dying, and Bereavement). 

Creative Grief Studio Certification Program, USA: Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner. 

The Grief Recovery Institute, Australia: Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®