What if I'm sick too?

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.

What if I'm sick too?

Postby KarenH » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:17 am

Anticipatory grief can be hard enough to handle when it's "just" one person whose death we are expecting. But what happens when you're also experiencing your own serious health issues and related losses at the same time? As with everything else in grief, there's no one right way to handle this tough situation.

Some people try to shield the dying person from the stress of knowing that another loved one is ill. One woman "hid" a heart attack and subsequent hospitalization from her mother who was dying, so as not to burden her with worry about her daughter's health. She knew Mom would feel guilty for leaving this earth when her daughter needed her. While she felt some sadness at the "unexplained" time she missed with her mother toward the end, the relief of sparing her what she felt would be an unnecessary burden was greater.

In contrast, some people wish to share their journey and all that comes with it, or find that for practical reasons (living in the same house) the experience has to be shared.

Have you been in this situation, or known someone who has? Do you have suggestions for others who might be struggling with their own serious illness while caring for a loved one at end-of-life?
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