By: Nancy Gordon, LCSW, CLC © 2020-2022 All Rights Reserved

Anticipatory Grief

We might say loss and grief have become a global pandemic in and of itself. No one is escaping it. Truly, loss and grief have always gone hand in hand with LIFE, it’s just that now we are forced to face it. Knowledge is empowerment. Empowerment, in and of itself, heals. Kubler-Ross, the founder of the well-known “5 Stages of Grief,” astutely identified shock, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance to describe the grief journey.

Yet, I believe she missed two profound stages of grief. There is a stage of grief before the loss occurs, known as “anticipatory grief”. This is the grief you begin to experience when you can see loss ‘comin’ around the bend’. You can’t stop it…and it’s full of heart-breaking, gut-wrenching grief as you watch your beloved decline!

After Kubler-Ross’s last stage of acceptance, there is transformational grief, which is the foundation of my 7 Powerful Practices to Manage Your Mind and Heal Your Heart™ methodology. Transformational grief guides you to transform loss into love and grief into growth…but that’s another article!

Growing Through Grief, Rising to Resilience

Anticipatory grief is often not recognized, understood, nor well supported with respect, compassion, and guidance. People often feel A-L-O-N-E  in their grief, and stressed out during this most delicate, precious time remaining with their loved one.

That’s why it’s my mission to change that experience by educating people about the profound value of finding the courage and the support to face loss through anticipatory grief work so that we can be lovingly present with ourselves and our loved ones.

When we allow grief to crack open our hearts and teach us how, in fact, to live and love after loss, we realize the value of transformational grief work. Above all, within anticipatory grief lies the last opportunity before your loved one passes to heal any wounds in the relationship, thereby pre-empting any guilt or regret you might have, leaving your loved one to go in peace and allowing you to heal your grief after loss with more grace and ease.

Unless you face impending loss, you will not be able to minimize the trauma of loss for yourself or your loved one. You will not be able to truly be a presence that uplifts them because you are not truly, fully present if you are hiding from grief. Admittedly, it’s not easy. You can choose to be imprisoned by grief in your locked heart and miss those last precious moments of being present with your loved one.

You can also choose to heal and grow through embracing anticipatory loss and grief, which allows you to be present with yourself and your loved one. I’m always reminded of the greater benefit of doing so, in the beautiful sentiment by the late musician Leonard Cohen:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Wishing you grace and ease in your grief journey~~Nancy Gordon

Author BIO

Nancy Gordon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Life Coach is a #1 International best-selling author, transformational retreat facilitator, speaker, and a life-changing expert who knows firsthand what it’s like to deal with serious loss and grief. After an almost life ending car crash, it was Nancy’s experience of going from hurting to healing that led to her dedicating her life to helping others do the same. Combining her professional expertise with her personal experiences with fibromyalgia, a traumatic brain injury, and pet loss, Nancy offers a unique perspective on transforming loss into love and grief into growth, with hope and healing through wit and wisdom. Nancy’s transformational methodology, known as the “7 Powerful Practices to Manage Your Mind and Heal Your Heart”™ teaches you how to lift the veil of experiencing your life through the lens of any challenging condition or loss and find your resilience. As a loss and transformational grief expert, it is Nancy’s mission to make a difference in how the world perceives, understands, experiences, supports, and heals loss and grief in general, and pet loss in particular.

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