Grief is a very normal response to a significant loss and is felt differently
by everyone. Loss of a loved one, no matter what the relationship, is a very personal matter. Your
grief belongs to you, it hurts and no-one can take from you your right to grieve and mourn your loss.
People will encourage you to "be strong" and "get on with life" but that is impossible and it is sad to think
friends and well meaning people ask you to carry on as though nothing had happened and the relationship you had
with the person who died had no meaning.
Grief is many things.........hard work, unpredictable, it comes and goes, it's all consuming and it takes much longer to work through
than you, and others think. Society would have you over your loss in a few months but it is now acknowledged that
most people are uncomfortable around a grieving person and don't know how to respond.
Your bereavement counsellor can support you in all stages of your grief, even if your loss is not recent or you maybe anticipating a loss.
When a loved one receives a poor prognosis and is not expected to live much longer this brings on another form of grief, known as Anticipatory Grief. This is where you will begin to face the possibility of losing your loved one.
You may feel some or all of these different emotions during Anticipatory Grief:
1. Sadness: You will experience an intense sadness at the thought of the death of someone you love and that some of your plans will go unfulfilled.
2. Frustration: You may experience some frustration due to your own inability to accept the reality of a pending death. You may feel like your in denial one day, then the next day you will feel that your loved one can beat the illness that they are fighting. But then reality will set in. These emotions can be very frustrating.
3. Guilt: You may feel guilt for different reasons. You may feel guilty for something that you have said to the dying person, maybe guilt because you didn't notice the change in health, or because you aren't the one that is sick and dying.
4. Anger : You may feel some anger at the doctors for not being able to help in the situation. You may also feel anger towards God for not being able to intervene in the situation.
5. Loneliness: When we are called on to go through a difficult period of life we often feel we are the only one experiencing it and that nobody cares or understands. If the illness is prolonged, you may experience loneliness caused by the fact that the person is no longer an active part of your everyday life.
6. Fear: You may feel fear from many different facets during this time in life. Those fears can come from not understanding what the disease may or may not do during the course of the illness. You may be afraid that your loved one will die in your presence, or what life is going to be like after the death.
7. Hope : It is often the case that the person who is close to the one who is dying will find some internal strength and hope. You may find your strength and hope from your spirituality, friends, or your own life experiences.