Dealing With Anticipatory Grief After Discovering A Loved One Is Terminally Ill

depression counseling westchester ny

Dealing With Anticipatory Grief After Discovering A Loved One Is Terminally Ill

If you’re struggling to cope with recent news of a dying loved one, don’t take this burden on by yourself. The Counseling Center’s grief and depression counseling Westchester NY services can help. Here’s how to get through the challenges of anticipatory grief.

Understanding Why Anticipatory Grief Happens

We usually spend our days running through in our heads all of the activities of the day that will allow us to move forward in something. Then one day, death suddenly confronts us. In most cases, it first presents itself in the form of a terminally ill relative or loved one. And when this happens, it can be confusing, overwhelming, and downright painful to come to terms with. Time and research show the most common response is for a person to go through the many stages of grief. This happens even before the person has passed, merely in anticipation of the loss.

That’s because there are actually many losses prior to the actual death. That applies as much to the person who’s sick as it does to his or her family and close friends. The person who’s sick will have to accept that he or she will have limits to physical and mental stability. The person must cut short his or her plans for the future.. And finally, the patient will have to accept the fact that from this point forward he or she will never again have the same degree of independence as earlier years of life.

For those who are not sick, they must accept the fact that a person they love will most likely be in pain for the remainder of his or her life. They must part ways with whatever plans of experiences they’d hoped to share with this person. And they must accept the fact that from this point forward, the relationship they have with the person who is ill will be fundamentally different from how it was before. In short, death changes everything. And it is important to recognize that, accept it, and overcome the grief that it imposes on us. Here’s how to make that happen.

Step 1 Of Overcoming Anticipatory Grief: Talk About Death

Death is a topic that many avoid at all costs. It is an exceedingly mysterious and unsettling reality. But at this point, it has confronted you head on and it is no longer appropriate to turn the other cheek. Undoubtedly, you will be thinking about it. The last thing you want to do is internalize it. The healthiest plan of action is to articulate your feelings with the others who are going through this experience with you. And also to a professional who can help you to better understand and control your emotions in this difficult time.

Step 2 Of Overcoming Anticipatory Grief: Make A Plan

Once you’ve addressed the elephant in the room, it’s time to figure out how this person wants to spend the remainder of his or her life. Does this person have a will? Have you discussed hospice? Have you and the medical professionals responsible for this person’s wellbeing fully informed him or her of the different options, regarding treatment, pain reduction, and where he or she can and should stay? Did you discuss whether the person wants to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form? These are the kinds of questions that you will want to ask and discuss, so as to provide the best possible final days for this person.

Step Of Overcoming Anticipatory Grief: Follow Through On Plan And Give This Person The Best You Can

As soon as you come to grips with the reality of the situation and all surprises have passed, the next phase becomes easier. Digesting the reality of your loved ones health is difficult. But the more vocal you are about your feelings, the easier it will be for you to continue on living a healthy and fulfilling life after the person passes.

To learn more about the Counseling Center’s grief and depression counseling Westchester NY services and how they stand to help you recover from your grief, give us a call today at 914-793-3388.