Anticipatory Grief, Bereavement and Loss


Anticipatory grief is the period of time where your loved one has been given a life changing diagnosis to their health and you are waiting for them to die. The time span of this waiting can be extremely short or it can go on for years (especially with dementia and some cancers).   Life changes for the person with the diagnosis, but also for their partner/spouse and family/friends. 

Supporting someone you love through the last stages of their life is mentally and physically exhausting.   Your diary can be filled with hospital and doctors appointments for various tests and treatments.  Your own social life can go out the window, and your life seems to just revolve around the person needing your support and care.  

This support can bring up all sorts of emotions, such as fear, anger, frustration and sadness as well as intrusive thoughts, that you would not dream telling anyone.  This can make you feel isolated because you don’t want to burden friends or your loved one with what you are thinking and feeling.   Talking to a counsellor who is neutral and unconnected to the family can be a real support in this time period.  The unspoken can be voiced, emotions expressed and historical pain can be explored and healed.


Bereavement/Mourning is the period of time following the death of a loved one, where the world can feel like it has stopped still, but the world still carries on.  It is a very bewildering time, and affects us emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Everyone’s reaction to death is different and unique.  No one’s journey is the same.  There is no right or wrong way to grief.  My role is to be a listening ear, to support, to normalise, to encourage while you grieve.  I have sat alongside people who have experienced death of a loved one who had a long term illness such as cancer or dementia/alzheimer’s or died suddenly from a heart attack or accident, or died by suicide.


Loss is felt when a person dies – loss of a future with that person and this loss can come in waves – sometimes gently – like a constant ache in our being – or sometimes feels like a tidal wave has scooped us up and we are tumbling over and over.   

Loss is also felt in other aspects of our lives, such as when we are made redundant, an important relationship ends, moving away from home, children leaving home.  All these loses can de-stablise us and therapy can help find our footing again.