Anticipatory Grief

At least one of us is all smiles

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you did too. I will admit, I spent too much of my day fighting back tears welling in my eyes though.

I took to the internet to diagnose my issues and found a name for what I think I am struggling with – anticipatory grief.

Brody is sick. Brody has been sick since the end of April. Since then I have gone through waves of sadness. Now with those damn holidays creeping up on me, the emotional levels, as usual, seem to heighten exponentially.

Instead of enjoying my Thanksgiving with my puppy, I spent most of the day agonizing on if this is our last Thanksgiving together.

I really know how to kill a nice day.

Something about having a name for how I am feeling is empowering and makes me feel a little less insane. It is a thing and now that I have a thing – I can go to battle with it.

The day Brody broke his leg, I was sent home with no hope and nothing to even pray for. I was told they would make him comfortable but we would be putting him down the next day. Amputation wasn’t even on the table until the following day. But Brody passed every test, blew every vet and vet assistant out of the water and was a great candidate for the surgery. He wasn’t done yet.

Each extra day with my main man is a blessing and here I am trying to ruin it all by being sad all the time. No more. Time to buck up and be psyched for each day we have got! I need to take advantage of each day and stop agonizing over what will happen in the future.

We DO have a big appointment Thursday though so I will still be accepting good thoughts and prayers!

Waiting for the boat on Thanksgiving Day

19 Replies to “Anticipatory Grief”

  1. I’m sorry.

    We anticipated the grief of our tired pup for a long, long, time. Then, like you, we decided to celebrate him as well as we could. We took him to his favorite places- the beach, the river, the woods… and fed him bacon and steak and spoiled him every which way we could.

    Yeah, he’s gone. But we know we saw it through with love and thanks.

    I really admire your attitude shift. I’ll be thinking of you and Brody.

    (I wrote about celebrating old dogs just after he left us:

  2. You never know how strong you are until you have to be. You have done an amazing job of taking care of Brody and yourself and making incredibly difficult decisions from your heart. Pain and sadness do creep in of course, be kind to yourself through all of your emotions and keep loving Brody with all of your being, as I know you will… You are both so lucky to have each other! xo

  3. Glad you found the term “anticipatory grief” … it sure is helpful when you can name what you’re feeling and know that is a normal part of grieving. Thoughts and prayers with you all … cms

  4. Our four (and sometimes three legged) kids need just as much love, respect & support as our two legged kids. We’ll be thinking of you guys this week! Good luck.

    1. Thanks so much! As Adam said this week there is a 4 legged, 3 legged and 2 legged men in my house that love me very much and together we will get through whatever gets in our way.

      Adam’s brother was more impressed that I have three ‘roommates’ and none of them have the same number of legs.

  5. Wow, Amanda…you’re in our prayers. Erin and I can certainly understand and empathize with your feelings. Thanks for making me tear up at work. 😉

    We’ll be praying for Brody and sending all the positive vibes we can. Situations like this make me recall what Dylan Thomas once wrote:

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a flying,
    This same flower blooming today,
    Tomorrow may be dying.


  6. I was doing the same thing. My Triton has been sick since April as well and he has an appointment tonight and I am anticipating we will not be bringing him home. I have spent the last few days preparing myself and the kids for this. I thought I was doing good and then I read the p

      1. Oh Heather. I am so sorry. Checked your Facebook page and you have lots of family and friends that seem to love you and your pup very much. Thanks for sharing Rainbow Bridge. Good luck and I am again so sorry to hear about Triton.

  7. Love and cherish every moment with Brody that you have and this I believe with all my heart, when it’s time he’ll know before you do.

    When we had to put our beloved German Shepherd, Remington, down due to cancer, we took him home for one last day. I stopped off at a local meat market and got him (2) big, fat t-bone steaks. I cooked them on the BBQ, just the way he liked them and let my sons feed him bite by bite. The boys and I built an inside fort and we got in it with Remington.

    It’s a happy memory I’ll always have of Remy and what could have been a real downer turned out to be a happy last day.

    Before I start crying I’m going to sign off. You’re a good person and he’s lucky to have you as his caretaker and I’m sure that you and your husband feel the same.

    Take Care,

    Bill Kizer

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