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Anticipatory Grief: How To Prepare For The Loss Of A Loved One

Wednesday, June 20, 2018   /   by Nicole Solari

Anticipatory Grief: How To Prepare For The Loss Of A Loved One

Photo via Pixabay by Longleanna

Many people think of grief as something that happens after the death of a loved one, but in actuality, grief can begin well before the loss even happens. When you’re close to someone who is diagnosed with a terminal illness or has lived to an advanced age, you may begin mourning the loss of all the time you spent together, or you may begin to anticipate having to live without them. These feelings can lead to sadness, anxiety, and even depression. You may begin to isolate yourself from friends and family, either because of your sadness or because you feel no one understands the way you feel.

When paired with the exhaustion that can come with coping with impending loss or taking care of your loved one, these feelings can be overwhelming. It’s important to understand the ways grief can change a person and how best to deal with it in the days leading up to the loss of your loved one, as well as how to make sure they are well taken care of and honored in the best way possible. As HomeAdvisor notes, “After all, that’s what it’s all about: caring for your loved one and treating him or her as you would want to be treated. As long as we show kindness and compassion to our loved ones throughout the process, they will be able to say goodbye with the dignity they deserve.”

Keep reading to find out more.

Reduce anxiety

One of the ways anticipatory grief can be hurtful is by causing anxiety. You may begin to fear getting phone calls or texts because you worry the news will be about your loved one, or you might be afraid to sleep because of nightmares. It’s important to do all you can to reduce anxiety, including getting adequate sleep and practicing self-care. This can mean many things, from getting daily exercise to exploring therapy to better learn how to cope.

Make your loved one as comfortable as possible

If your loved one has been sick or has lost mobility due to illness, they may have trouble keeping up with cleaning and other chores. As long as they’re able to stay in their home, it’s important to make sure everything is clean, safe, and comfortable for them, so make a plan for taking care of as much as possible. The bathroom and kitchen should be first on the list, and don’t forget to dust, vacuum, and wash linens.

Don’t make big changes

Change can be hard enough to deal with when you’re not going through the grieving process, so make it a point to keep things the same as much as you can, not only for yourself, but also for your loved one. Now is not the time for a move or a stressful expenditure, such as buying a car. Likewise, you should make every effort to help your loved one remain comfortable by keeping mementos and favorite photos around. If a move to a hospice is necessary, be sure to bring these items along for a sense of familiarity.

Discuss the difficult things

It can be hard to talk about the difficult things, such as planning for the final stages of your loved one’s life, but these are absolutely necessary conversations if there are certain directives you need to follow. Keep communication open with your family so that everyone is on the same page and to garner support when you need it.

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things a person can go through, so remember to take good care of yourself during this process. Seek help from a therapist or counselor if necessary and talk about your feelings. This is one of the best ways to learn to cope with loss.

Originally Written by Lucille Rosetti of TheBereaved.com

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