Grief can begin before we even lose a loved one. This is known as Anticipatory Grief. This is when we start to think about what life may be like when we say goodbye, or how we envision our pet to decline. We may mourn their passing before they have gone.
Anticipatory grief can begin when we receive a poor prognosis, or if we know we have to rehome a pet. It is natural, it is normal but it can rob us of the time we have left with our pets. Because we focus on the end and not the here and now. However, it can be useful, as we may be able to make arrangements and ask questions while we are still as clear-headed as can be. There are other types of grief.
Complicated grief, where there are a few events or factors that affect the way we process grief and loss.
Masked grief, where we may be unaware that our actions are in accordance with the loss suffered.
Delayed grief, where we may push our feelings aside and try to battle on, but it all comes to a head.
Exaggerated grief, where the bereaved may react in such a manner that they require extra support, they may turn to self injurous behaviours such as drug or alcohol abuse to take the pain away. Maybe even physical self-harm.
Chronic grief is a grief that takes the person longer than one would expect to move through. Although there is no time limit to grief there comes a time when we would expect to be functioning better and coping with the loss.
Disenfranchised grief, a loss that is not understood by society, almost a taboo, pet loss was and still is seen as a loss that is not socially acceptable but views and attitudes are changing for the better.
However, we still have some way to go. There have been texts written about the 5 stages of grief, and there are some of 7 and more stages.
The truth is that grief isn't as clear cut as 5 stages, and there is no set rule about what comes first or how to grieve. The five stages were
Although we may experience these stages, there is no telling what stage we experience first or last, or whether we go through all of them or not. Some people may become 'stuck' on a stage and require further support. If anyone would like me to expand on the 5 stages and how they may manifest please let me know. I am happy to send something in the post or email if preferred.
Please know that wherever you are, there is support available.