Anticipatory grief

Some carers experience anticipatory grief. This is the grief you feel when you are expecting the death of someone close to you.

You may feel sad, down and depressed or become anxious and concerned for your family member or friend. Or you may find yourself preparing for the death and beginning to think about what life might be like once they are gone. It is common to have thoughts such as: “How will it be when they are not here? How will I cope on my own?”

A long illness can give family and friends time to slowly get used to the person dying, to say what they want to say or to share memories.

Having time to grieve doesn’t necessarily make the loss of the person easier to cope with once they have died. Sometimes the experience of anticipating the death and spending a lot of time caring for the person actually makes you become closer to the person, and you feel intense grief when they die.


Listen to podcasts on Cancer Affects the Carer Too and How to Help Someone with Cancer


This information was last reviewed in September 2017.
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Support for carers
Cancer Council NSW offers carers support online, over the phone and in person and can link you to our practical support services, including support groups for bereaved carers

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

Understanding grief
Information to help you understand more about your grief when someone close to you has died from cancer

Facing end of life
Information about the issues facing people who are dying with cancer

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

 

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP