Waiting

Many of us are aware that grief is a normal part of every loss we experience, but does grief only occur after the loss? Anticipatory grief is the form of grief that occurs when one is confronted with a chronic or life threatening illness or when one anticipates the death of a loved one (or oneself). Anticipatory grief does not substitute, or necessarily lessen, grief that occurs after the death. It is not simply grief pushed ahead in time. Please utilize this discussion group to share your thoughts and feelings.

Waiting

Postby slakin » Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:47 am

Families I meet often need to review their experience going through the medical journey with their loved one prior to death. At that time, some describe not allowing themselves to feel, needing to "be on the ready" to react to constantly changing conditions, For others, it might have been an elongated slow walk, not knowing when things will start to decline further. In addition to all the uncertainty, family members describe this as a time of great inner conflict. They feel guilt over "giving up" hope and moving toward emotionally letting go of their loved one when the end is inevitable.

One mom, who had made the difficult decision to take her son off life support, sat at this bedside for 30 days, shaving and bathing him daily, found it excruciating to be waiting for death to overtake him. She wished for him to be free of his suffering, but felt a mother wishing for the death of a child was an impossible conflict. She took long walks in the woods to quiet her heart and make some peace with the tragedy that had happened. She preferred not to talk to family, but found comfort in inspirational readings. She had previous losses but none could compare to the intensity of "waiting". When I saw her a year later, all her hard work struggling to be just "be" with her son as he moved towards death and knowing she had fulfilled her role as his mother until the very end, seemed to give her permission to go on living.
slakin
 
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