Some losses we see coming. But we still cannot avoid the pain. And anticipating is often just as disruptive as the actual loss because we know things are changing and will never be the same again. All the same, the anticipation allows us to end well as we transition from one season to the next.
To be sure, life is filled with many griefs. And often this is heartache experienced after a loss. And while this is difficult in its own right, it’s something we generally expect and accept. But often we’re not prepared for the grief we experience beforehand – when a loss is on the horizon but has not yet arrived.
This might be upcoming changes in work and benefits, a pending move and changes in friendships, a loved one being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or our kids preparing to leave home.
Whatever it looks like, anticipatory grief is bracing ourselves for the pain of future loss. But, because it has not arrived yet, we don’t always know how to respond.
Sometimes in our anger we shut down and withdraw. It’s not something we’re ready to deal with yet. And so, we don’t. At other times, we try to stay busy or quickly find a replacement for the void we see coming. But, either way, these are just distractions keeping us from facing the deep grief starting to stir in our souls.
A better approach is learning to accept a transition is coming and cherishing the time that remains. This allows us to honor the season even as we weep and prepare for its ending. It doesn’t hurt any less. But we’re able to receive all the peace and goodness available when we keep our hearts wide open.
Let your heart feel the ache of the coming loss and allow it to deepen your love and gratitude for the gift of each moment.