Posted in Cancer

Anticipatory Grief

Ever wonder why you just can’t shake a feeling?

I will admit since my son’s accident I just can’t rid myself of the aura that keeps plaguing me.

Some days I feel so consumed and overwhelmed that I just lose track of the day. It’s like I have no sense of time or my locality. I lock myself up from the outside world, unknowingly detached from what’s surrounding me, finding myself almost oblivious to any sense of time.

The days have gone by, the weeks, and I am still unaware of what a normal day should entail. I have no recollection of what normal is anymore, and my reality reminds me I never will.

I sit in my daughter’s apartment tonight, staring at a photograph of me holding her, just a few months old, and I long for those joyous days and the happiness I took for granted.

We have this false sense that happiness, once achieved, will be forever more.

There’s no greater joy for me than being a mom, a wife, and having a family. A secure sense of being I feel slipping away week after week. It’s as if I cannot stop the unraveling or the rate of speed I see it happening. I simply cannot go back or stop time.

The uncontrollable thoughts presented to my mind create anxiety and frustration, and I fight to stop the turmoil in my head. The tears that come without any sense of warning, the disquiet I can feel building up in a moment’s notice, and the reasoning behind it all.

We are seven months into a ridiculous pandemic. I wish I could physically start a fist fight with this invasion. Blame it for stealing my peace, my precious time.

However, the emptiness there eludes the liability.

In the rear of my mind, I recognize cancer has stolen much of what is irretrievable; however, there’s no palpable being to blame. I am in a whirlwind, spinning out of control, with no notion of how to make it all stop.

I have tried over and over to make sense of the jumbled thoughts and feelings that torment my heart and mind. I long for one person who can imagine the emptiness, the oblivion that burdens my soul.

No one in my realm shares the hollowness in my heart.

How can I mourn something not yet totally lost?

How do I mend a broken heart?

And, how do I accept the guilt for feeling grief before it’s time?

I never knew anticipatory grief was a real thing.

I know cancer introduced it into my life. An unfair loss of freedom has created a lingering sense that more is yet to come. And, what will earn the credit of the final nail?

Many of us are greiving an old life robbed by a pandemic, but I was grieving loss long before that.

We spend our whole life planning for the future, until we get cheated out of our destiny only to live life one day at a time.

Anticipation, loneliness, fear, anxiety, emotional numbness. None of those are made up nor are they understood. There aren’t enough distractions in a day to balance out the emotions that chase my mind.

I am feeling my way through the darkness, grasping for something in the blackness to steady me, take my hand and lead me into the light. I pray for some sense of peace, belonging, and a place to rest my thoughts.

I pray for strength.

I have read the stories of so many strangers, grappling to provide comfort to those of us lost in a storm. Those who know all too well what anticipatory grief is, the emotions of being a caregiver for someone with a long-term illness, and the anticipation of how it will all play out.

One thing I have learned, one thing that I have lived. One thing that has stuck in my mind. We are simply “not good,” and our response that we are OK does not mean we are. It is simply a false hope, and I’m sorry, but most cannot handle that truth.

No one is ever comfortable with grief or loss. Not the one living it, and not the one watching from the outside, looking in.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

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