Anticipatory grief

My wonderful mum was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer three years ago. Completely out of the blue, absence of symptoms. She has been amazing, continues to be, but her pathway is starting to shorten and palliative ‘treatment’ ceased earlier this year. The sense of anticipatory grief has been present since her diagnos, but since all intervention has ceased it is overwhelming, crushing. I am struggling to manage my usual calm way of being, constant state of anxiety and worry about she and dad are coping. I see the most days but even that doesn’t feel enough and I have terrible guilt that I didn’t spot that things were not ok pre-diagnosis, could I have done something, I know that must be fairly normal. I’m hoping that there may be some shared wisdom here. I want to be able to share these last months with mum in the moment, not in this state of perpetual grief and anxiety.


Is she still eating ? Able to get around ?It’s a very difficult thing to experience when caring for someone. I hate to think what goes through a persons mind when they are terminally ill.
I witnessed this at first hand. It is horrific.
Although I guess it’s no different for any of us in the sense that we all know that we are going to die.

I am sorry for what your mum is going through, and your dad. It will affect him in ways you won’t imagine.
You have my utmost sympathy. I have cried enough tears to turn a mill.

Remember that the Greek gods envied the mortals.

“The Gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again”

From the Iliad, via Hollywood

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I can totally relate to how you are feeling as my Step Dad has stage three cancer. Being given time limits is all consuming and its difficult to focus on anything other than whats ifs and when. I have just made sure that my folks know i am there and have arranged more family days out so that they are not sat at home waiting for the next appointment. Its so difficult to stay positive so dont be hard on yourself about feeling like this. Impending grief feels like you have already suffered a loss and you have, you have lost your peace of mind and comfort of having parents around forever.