Anticipatory Grief

I learned a new term today.

Anticipatory Grieving

Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. Usually it centers on death. We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.

That came from Scott Berinato who quotes David Kessler in the Harvard Business Review‘s article, That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.  Kessler is …”the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss.”

COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic

Stages of Grieving

The grieving process we are all familiar with are these 5 stages:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

anticipatory COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic

The 6th stage, recently added, is:

  • Finding Meaning (I’m just starting this book by the above mentioned David Kessler.)

anticipatory COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic

No Direct Path Through

While it would be so helpful to be able to mark the stages off as I am in one, seeing progress forward towards acceptance and finding meaning in my life and death, sadly, there is no linear means to the relief of pain.

And what has been helpful for me, too, is to know I can feel more than one “stage” at a time. Who knew I could be in the Anger and Acceptance phase together? It has happened more than once since the Pandemic began.

I like this page on Symptoms of Grieving as an adjunct to the Stages. I relate to many of them.

anticipatory COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic
Grief the Unspoken by Natalia Maroz

Resigning Myself…

…to going through all the stages, backwards and forwards, up, down and sideways… until the end.

I am sure my writing will reflect a lot of that.

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