anticipatory grief

Shoo2 Member Posts: 3

Hi everyone


I'm a newbie here, and I will start the caregiving 'journey' tomorrow. I always  thought that journey was  something to look forward to...not anymore. I think a new word needs to be used, since journey sounds too  nice for what's coming. I don't mean to sound pessimistic- it's just that I'm so scared. Scared of everything to come.........I guess that's why it's called 'anticipatory'. I can't remember a day I haven't cried  since we got the diagnosis 8/22/17 that my  husband of 16 years has stage IV lung cancer. We are blessed that he's going to be on a chemo cocktail of 2 drugs, with the addition of Keytruda. 

However, I would be ever so grateful if anyone out there who has or is going through this hell- how do you cope with the overwhelming grief of knowing what will be coming? I know that sound horrid to say, even before the treatments start, and of course I pray that this treatment will give us more time. I asked my   husband how he's coping right now, and he says he is dealing with his own grief on how hard this is, now and in the future, for me and his daughter. I just reminded him that no one asked for this trainwreck, but that we just have to get through it, no matter what, and to try not to feel guilty. Poeple keep  saying "well, enjoy every minute you can with him'. That's the rub. The more time I claw back from other chores, or work or just daily  living to be with him makes me hurt worse. Am I wrong in feeling this way?

Most days at work, I don't let too much in, but on my way home, (and most nights when I'm wide awake) I weep at the drop of a hat,   all I can think of are how am I going to get on with....everything that has to be done now or that will need to be done one day when he's gone.


I honestly believe I  am starting to withdraw a  bit as the pain is just too  intense, and in my mind, I know that it SO wrong, but I can't help myself.


Any suggestions?  

Thanks for just reading.



  • betula
    betula Member Posts: 86
    edited October 2017 #2
    Any way that you are feeling is okay

    Listen, this is a difficult postion to be in.  Very difficult.  All of your emotions are okay!  

    My husband has/had stage 3 rectal cancer and is 47.  He just finished treatment.  I feel like I sort of compartmentalized my life.  While at work I tried to but it to the back of my mind and used that time as my place that I did not have to think about it.  I did not tell everyone at work because I did not want to have to talk about it all day with different people.  We have two kids also so we both had to put on a brave face for them and keep things as normal as possible for them.  . 

    Please know that anything and everything that you are feeling is normal and is okay.  Find things that you can do that make you feel more in control of things even if it is just keeping the house togther.  

    I wish I had more concrete things to say but it is early and having difficulty getting my thoughts together but know that I am thinking about you.

  • ClaCla
    ClaCla Member Posts: 136
    Stage IV LC is Not Necessarily a Death Sentence

    Shoo2, there are so many long-time stage IV lung cancer survivors.  You'll find them on this website as well as very many on  As I'm sure you're already recognizing, the grief does giveway to be better able to focus on now as well as on plans for the immediate future doing things that your family has always wanted to do -- things you and your husband are passionate about.  But there's grief, then some feelings of acceptance, then more grief, and repeats time after time until after a while the acceptance gets stronger so you and your family can live the time you have together.

    I have always suspected it's much more painful to be the caregiver than the patient, and your comments confirm that.  I'm the patient, and diagnosis was confirmed in a pathology report on Aug. 18 (a couple days before your husband), but I'm stage IIIA.   I've observed that my husband maintains his optimism by being very good at staying present in the moment, and has an attitude of we're both alive now so better not to assume anything other unless it happens.  I am so glad he is able to be like that, because otherwise I don't know how I could focus on living rather than dying.  But it's the grieving process.  Like Betula said above, your experience is unique to you, and what ever you're feeling is right at this time.

    I pray your husband responds to treatment well, and that you find as much comfort as possible.  God bless.