WHAT IS ANTICIPATORY GRIEF? | Parkinson's Resource Org · Parkinson's Resource Organization



Anticipatory grief is the name given to the tumultuous set of feelings and reactions that occur when someone is expecting the death of a loved one. These emotions can be just as intense as the grief felt after a death. The most important thing to remember is that anticipatory grief is a normal process, even if it’s not discussed as often as regular grief.

How do you recognize the signs and symptoms of anticipatory grief?

Anticipatory grief bears many of the same symptoms as conventional grief, which is the emotional response to the loss of a loved one. Although grief generally progresses in stages, every person may experience it differently.

As you grieve, you may experience:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Desire to talk
  • Emotional numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Poor concentration or forgetfulness
  • Sadness
  • There are some clear differences between anticipatory grief and conventional grief, though. These unique signs and symptoms include:
  • Increasing concern for the person dying;
  • Imagining or visualizing what the person’s death will be like;
  • Preparing for what life will be like after a loved one is gone;
  • Attending to unfinished business with the dying person.

Get help from a support group. Building a support group or finding an existing caregiver support group can have many benefits. PRO has three (3) Caregiver Support Groups each month, check out the calendar for dates and times.

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Updated: August 16, 2017