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Anticipatory grief is similar to the normal process of mourning, but it occurs before the actual death (in anticipation of the death).
While mourning is usually discussed in regards to the family and loved ones of a dying person, anticipatory grief can be experienced by the family, loved ones, and the child dying. Anticipatory grief occurs before death, often as a result of a terminal diagnosis or to a life-threatening illness, when death is a possibility. This grief has some common stages among people in the same situation; however, every individual and family is different and experiences grief, death, and illness in their own unique way.
Grief and mourning do not have specified volumes or time restrictions. Each individual expresses his/her grief and bereavement in his/her own way and time. Anticipatory grief may include the following phases, though not exclusively in this order. Grief is often an expression which includes each of these phases or stages in multiple times, intensities, and orders.
The person dying may think about life after death. The person dying may also try to imagine what it will be like for his/her loved ones to live without him/her.