Jump to content

Young Widow Forum

Register to view blogs.


Anticipatory Grieving

Recommended Posts

I'd compare anticipatory grief to very slowly and painfully peeling off a bandage. Just how it felt to me, anyway.

Share this post

Link to post

Maureen, so much THIS


But as I have said before, I was very well prepared for him to die.  But...I was not prepared for him to be dead.  I went home from the hospital after he died and sat on my bed and the thought that came to me was, "The day I have dreaded for over 18 years has arrived."  I could not have anticipated the deep sorrow I felt after he was gone.


Some days I wake up and still expect to see him which is weird since I've remarried.

Share this post

Link to post

I definitely did some pre-grieving. My first huge breakdown was about 3 1/2 months before he passed away. One night I asked him a question about the dinner I was making. He thought and then he said "Here's what you do" with a facial expression I'd seen a million times. It hit me that soon I would never see it again and would never have his help in the kitchen.


Later, when we knew for sure the chemo wasn't working and it was only a matter of time, I told myself the reality was that life was going to be hard for a long time. Somehow that took the pressure off later.


It helped me to steel myself for the pain to come, and to put me in the mindset of making his last days as happy and comfortable as possible. It also allowed me to put things in motion while I was still thinking fairly clearly: I reached out to my lieutenants and gave them names and numbers of people I wanted them each to contact when the time came. When the time did come, I just said "Go" and they did the rest. In turn, I could concentrate better on my children and my mother-in-law.


Share this post

Link to post

Thanks for bringing this back up Bear. I didn't accept it one bit until the last morning. I'd never seen a problem we couldn't whip. Someone else said this well on another thread-  processed the death intellectually almost immediately, but over two years in the emotional processing kicked in.

  Thats when I found you all, at two and a half years. I realized if I didn't get some help, my heart would be the next unconquerable enemy. And you all have been wonderful help.

Share this post

Link to post

My wife was diagnosed with primary cancer over eleven years ago, and with terminal cancer eight years ago.


That's a lot of time to assimilate, at least intellectually, what was going to happen. The moment her terminal prognosis was confirmed, that was when we knew she would die young, and there's no question I started grieving at that moment. I remember sitting in hospital corridors with her mother crying and hugging for hours on end. That was when I started to live with the fact that she and I would never grow old together.


After that horrible time, when her prognosis was very poor, things unexpectedly started to improve. My wife defied the doctors' expectations and went into remission for nearly seven years, despite the fact that the cancer had come back very aggressively. Over that period, while we knew it would end badly, we achieved such a degree of stability and normality that we would go for weeks or months at a time without thinking directly about what was going to happen. I don't wish to minimize how hard it was for her to live in the face of an early death and deal with physical hardship and discomfort, but she refused to waste her time worrying when she didn't have to. Similarly, while I knew I'd be widowed young, only once or twice did I confront this reality head-on, in all its horror. We more or less decided not to waste our time on misery when we didn't have to. After all, the misery would take care of itself. I think this was the right thing to do, and I don't regret it for one moment.


We made the most of every hour, and said all the things we needed to say.


My wife died in November, and it was not unexpected, but it's only in the last several weeks that the reality of her loss is starting to hit home. I think now that I overestimated the extent to which I had processed and accepted what had happened. I thought I was OK, but now I think I've been hiding from what it means to be without her. I just miss her so much.

Share this post

Link to post

I was only a caretaker for two years. i could not admit that my husband was actually going to die until he slipped into a coma days before his death. I remember hiding from everyone in the bathroom, trying to calm myself down by making plans on how I was going to deal with his absence. That was shot to hell pretty quickly. Widowhood was so much harder than my imagination could possibly conjure.

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.