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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Ask The Grief Experts

Anticipatory Grief is not real—it means thinking that you can know what feeling you will have in the future which is not here yet (Published 2-28-12)


During the course of 2008 and 2009 my husband and myself were tragically going through differing issues. I was experiencing Liver Failure and had to have surgery, he was loosing his job as a HS Teacher, thus we were loosing our home, cars and everything imaginable. He wanted to continue work rather then stay as he would never get a teaching job again there because of the economy and his age. So we moved to VA and 5 weeks later he disappears. I was able to track him down as I received an on slough of insurance papers in the mail 7 weeks after he left. He had ALL Leukemia with extensive involvement in the brain. What symptoms I took for depression and grief for so many other things was actually in part symptoms we never even thought of. I can not get him to come home as he returned to his parents in California (56 YO). They are foreign nationals and clannish like Italians and Irish. They believe I did some horrid thing, too long to mention thus am an enemy. They have cut me out, but there is so much they don't know about him or his illness. Needless to say, it has been 18 months and he has lived longer then the norm of 11 months. NO ONE makes it past 2 years with his illness so their is not any hope of recovery.

I feel so violated and cheated that I can not spend the last few months with my husband of 15 years. I don't even think I am going to be allowed to go to his funeral as they will not tell me anything let alone when he dies. My mom died in the middle of all this, I lost most everything we owned and I am in a place where I would not have been had he not wanted a job.

Days seem unbearable at times, and I am told I am going through Anticipatory Grief. But is there any help for me? What can I do? At times I feel like a horrid wife and daughter in law. Most of my family is gone. I have one son 28, that is a disabled vet. He has his own problems, I can not lean there.

Does your book cover this? I know of countless people I have run across where families of dementia, Alzhimer's, brain cancer and other brain disorders that are going through this all the time. My story though unusual I am finding is not unique. There are just not many of us like this. Now my husband doesn't remember most of our marriage and won't talk to me.

Help Please.

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