Grief Before the Loss

Posted by shelbyj @shelbyj, Apr 12 12:06am

Last week my 58 year old mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma. We’ve been seeing the effects for almost 6 months but didn’t know what it was we were dealing with (which is a story for a different post). Her personality changed, she became apathetic with a flat affect and suddenly the fiery woman that raised me was a shadow of herself.

Now I’m facing a dark prognosis and am already grieving for the mom I once had and the one I won’t for much longer. Who else has felt this? What helped you? How do you prepare for something like this?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Loss & Grief Support Group.

My husband of only 21 years had strokes and was in hospice for 4 months, before he died. Every time he had a good day, or days, I hoped the doctors were wrong and he didn’t belong in hospice care. The ups and down were horrible and I was in anticipatory grief.
What helped me was seeing him every day (he was in long term care) and being supportive and as cheerful as I could manage. I bought items for his room, brought in family photos and clothing.
We talked about memories of good times and he loved looking at photos. I was a strong advocate for him, which helped a lot.
We did a number of things to make it a bit easier, such as Power of Attorney, adding a family member to bank accounts, and getting our home in my name only. We did use an elder care attorney, but you don’t absolutely have to. It gave me some peace of mind to accomplish those tasks. He got tired, easily, but loved going for a drive and getting out. At least for a short while, you are enjoying the day and not focusing on the situation. I hope I may have helped, a little. Prayers for you and your mom.


@shelbyj, you ask such good questions. Anticipatory grief is real, and it's hard. As you see the changes, you experience little bits of loss. I'm tagging fellow members like @IndianaScott @kylebar @ruthannray @djw @nancyhafer @onewyldbeemer @red77465 @otis123, who know first-hand about caring for someone diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma. I also added your discussion to the Brain Tumor support group.

I think you have taken the first step to dealing with these unanticipated changes and grief by writing here. There aren't easy answers, but it can help to talk about it. Do you live with your mom? Are you her main caregiver? Who helps?

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