Anticipatory Grief – Can We Relate This To Our Current Pandemic?

Anticipatory grief is grief we typically experience when someone in our life is coming to the end of their journey here on earth. The grief comes from anticipating what life will be like without your loved one anymore. Translating this to our current situation, I know I am experiencing anticipatory grief.

What will life look like throughout this pandemic? What will life look like after we combat this virus? I can even narrow my thoughts; what will life be like later today, tomorrow, a week from now? We have never been through anything like this before. We receive a  daily update 3:30 pm from our Chief Medical Officer. I know I anticipate the announcement and fear the reports of increased Covid-19 cases, perhaps another death or more restrictions.

How can we recognize the signs of anticipatory grief? Sarah Stevenson blogged about this topic last year (April 22, 2019: How to Recognize the Signs of Anticipatory Grief). Upon reviewing the list of signs, I acknowledge I have experienced most of them.

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Desire to talk
  • Emotional numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Poor concentration and forgetfulness
  • Sadness

I’ve also been following Dr. Jody Carrington each morning between 8 and 8:30 am when she goes live. Jody is a psychologist, who is extremely funny, very real and offers good information. One thing got from her is: if you can define it, you can own it. Isn’t that powerful?! It’s like putting a face to a name. It’s being able to say, “Hey anticipatory grief, I recognize you and I can now work on understanding my emotions!”

In my daily walk with anticipatory grief, I really try to honour what I am feeling. For example, when a wave of loneliness comes over me, and it does even when there are other people in my house with me; I acknowledge it and I reach out. I have had more telephone conversations in the last week than I have had in a very long time. I find acknowledging and honouring what I feel is very helpful.

Reach out, share your feelings, eat healthy (if you decide to indulge, please don’t beat yourself up about it), exercise (plenty of free exercise videos out there), seek professional counselling should you feel you need to, watch a movie, read a book, help someone else, recognize the little things, and practice gratitude. Stay healthy, practice safe social distancing and wash your hands. You can follow this link for Covid-19 information.