Use your moments of happiness wisely

I'd never heard the term 'anticipatory grief' until, just after Ash's diagnosis, I mentioned to a friend that I couldn't stop crying and she suggested this is what I was experiencing.  The knowledge that you've lost someone so important to you but, strangely, you are still sharing your life with them means that it's very difficult to grieve in the 'normal' way especially as the person you know and love still appears from time to time (although less and less frequently as time goes on).  You probably already know all about this and, if you too are in this situation, will certainly have experienced it but I'm still learning.  Yesterday something popped up on fb about anticipatory grief so of course I clicked on it to find out more   One of the things that struck me was that, according to this article, people apparently feel guilty for the moments they are happy in amongst all the angst that goes with dementia.  I don't feel that but now wonder whether that's just me.  I do feel the grief that comes with knowing life will never be the same again, I do feel sad when I think about all the things Ash has lost interest in that we used to love doing together and I occasionally feel sorry for myself when I think of all the responsibility in our lives that is now totally mine but I never feel guilty for those times when I'm happy.  Happiness doesn't just appear in our lives, we have to work at it so if moments of happiness leap out at me and make me smile then I will grab those moments with both hands, hang on to them for as long as possible and look back on them for even longer.  By feeling guilty about them I think they would be wasted, by appreciating them I have created a memory to keep for as long as I want.

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Ann said…
Thank you so much for talking about ‘anticipatory grief’, Jane. I have been (and still am) going through exactly the same feelings and emotions as you have described. But now that you have given this a name... ‘anticipatory grief’ ... and thank you for the link, I feel I am no longer alone in this.

I too, have no feelings of guilt when the ‘happy moments’ arrive....and yes they are still possible. I even note them in my diary, to remind me when I’m feeling ‘down’ that life can still be good, even if it means I have to work a little harder to achieve it these days.

Thank you again Jane. By talking about something, and giving it a name, you’ve helped me (and others I’m sure) enormously.

Jane said…
I like the idea of writing those happy times in a diary so will start doing that. it really is very easy to forget about them when you're in those moments at the other end of the spectrum.