Anticipatory grief comes when a loved one is facing the end of life but the death has not yet occurred.
Anticipatory grief is both a acknowledgment and a dread. The acknowledgment comes because you have time to emotionally adjust to the impending loss, resolve regrets, and make amends. Another opportunity is to share your feelings of caring and appreciation with your loved one. From a practical standpoint, you may also be able to discuss end-of-life wishes and other preparations.
The difficulty with anticipatory grief is witnessing the loved one’s struggle.
Seeing someone you love in pain and caring for their needs is extremely stressful. Also, each change for the worse brings a new wave of grief for the caregivers and family members. Depending on the nature of the illness, anticipatory grief can last for months or years. Those who have been through anticipatory grief advise others to avoid feeling guilty about any negative feelings you may have (which are normal) and look for the positive in the time you can spend with your loved one.