Grieving Before a Death


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By Family Caregivers of BC. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

When we think about grief, we often think of it as something that happens following a death. However, grief can begin long before death arrives. The grieving process can start as soon as a caregiver is aware that death is a likelihood or once death is on the horizon. Many caregivers dealing with an impending death will experience overwhelm, anxiety and dread. As well, before the death of a care recipient, caregivers grieve the loss of the person’s abilities and independence, loss of their cognitive abilities, loss of future dreams, loss of stability and the loss of their identity and the caregivers. Anticipatory loss is not just about accepting the future death, but of the many losses already occurring as an illness progresses.

Courtney Doherty is a registered clinical counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors. She currently works with Parkinson Society British Columbia, where she helped launch the counselling program in 2015. Today we talk about different forms and stages of loss and grief. And we talk about how a caregiver can plan for loss.


  • Ambiguous Loss and Anticipatory loss.
  • Limbo or frozen grief process.
  • The big role of a caregiver with the preparation of loss (logistics), identity change, and learning a new life (changes of emotions).
  • Self-awareness of feeling the feelings and making them manageable.


Links Mentioned in Episode:

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BC Ministry of Health - Patients as Partners Initiative

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12 episodes