What happens when anticipatory grief hits?

I have written about anticipatory grief before (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/387), but wanted to put down some words on how what I can only describe as an episode can come along. I am trying to put my head in a better place, through exercise and journaling, but this morning, after doing my bike ride, I felt overcome with emotion taking a shower.

I got waves flowing into my brain, all at once, overwhelming me. It is impossible to focus and concentrate on one item, there is so much coming. Thoughts about what my wife has lost, the pain she is constantly in. The never ending issues she faces on a daily basis.

Thoughts about we have lost as a family, and what we are going to lose. Thoughts about how my children cope now, and how they will cope in the future when the inevitable day comes.

Thoughts about what I have lost, the lack of a partner, the loss of someone I love to just hold and be held by. The hole in my heart that cannot be filled, whatever I try to do.

The overwhelming kindness and support from friends and family that can never be repaid. The pointlessness of getting up in the morning, when everything you had worked for, everything you wanted can so easily and painfully be taken away.

How unfair life can be when someone who would only be there to help people, to look after people, is reduced to a husk of what she once was, reliant on people for so many tasks, fearful of eating regular food, fearful of any small bruise and ache and pain being a sign of the end coming. The way cancer has destroyed her body, wasting away until bones poke through, her swollen stomach and dark bruises.

This will all come along at once, overpowering my mind. If it happens in the shower, I can almost cope, tears joining the water running down my face, but if it comes along in work, there is very little option to escape. My focus will be destroyed for the day, my mind struggling to clear the thoughts and emotions away, unable to easily compartmentalise what is going on. Impossible to comprehend.

I have lost so many working days to being unable to focus, which I then make up at another time, adding guilt to my feelings of grief, so that all that goes round my mind are negative thoughts and feelings. Many days and nights can be spent in a downward mental spiral.

Nothing can resolve these feelings, the root cause is not going away any time soon, but I try to utilise coping mechanisms. However, these incidences are becoming much more frequent, as the stress and strain of the last 8 years starts to toll.


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