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Anticipatory Grief for Father

Sharon P.

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I have recently moved my frail elderly father to a closer Assisted Living facility.  He has been in Hospice care there for the last four months and I am depressed and having trouble with my grief.  I can talk a little to my spouse but hospice does not provide any before death services.  They tell me he is eating (they have to yell and pull him out of deep sleep), and that he sleeps 22 hours a day.  He is not talking much so the Social Worker and the Paster from hospice don’t know what they are to do - so they are not coming but maybe 2x month at most.  I am off work at this time and going every few days to have lunch with him and our walks have stopped.  He is encouraged to use walker still but fell onto toilet last weekend.  He has no muscle in legs.  He has a standby hospice wheelchair but have not seen it used.  

Is there anyone who has gone through this grief before and where did you get help?  Thank you 

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Nicole-my grief journey

Sharon P,

All my empathy. I went to a cancer/caregiver group while my mom was in Long Term Acute Care and and also her primary caregiver when she wasn’t in it. The group meeting was once a week at the cancer center and free. But there were also quite a few meetings I found online in the community as well. My best friend who’s mom had Alzheimer’s used to go to a free local meeting she found online. Maybe there is an anticipatory grief group near your community. Or one connected to the specifics of his illness. I found with me having anticipatory grief, depression and so many other emotions and fears, I found that contacting a personal therapist was a good fit for me. I continue to go now that my mom has passed. It has been helpful and gave me an indispensable outlet and tools for coping. Some take insurance and for those who don’t have insurance, some therapists have a sliding scale they’ll do for you if you ask. In the last weeks with my mom I was determined to give her everything I could and love on her as much as I could. When alone with her and no doctors, I would talk to her about things she loved (even if she couldn’t reply), our favorite things to do together, what she meant to me. I did a lot of reassuring her (that was so hard internally because I knew that we were losing her). I got her in the wheel chair with the help of an aide and would get her out of her room when I could (even if not for long). But mostly, I held her hand and sat with her and cherished every second. I played music, old movies and did my best to keep her cozy. I compartmentalized my feelings as best I could so I could work and function when not with her. That was hard. 

other things that helped me:

taking walks


making sure I was at least drinking water and having crackers when I was so wired from grief I felt like I couldn’t eat

calling a friend who I knew could listen without trying to fix or deny what I was feeling

Writing A LOT of my feelings on this forum


I hope any smidge of this helps. You and your dad will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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