What is Anticipatory Grief?

by Jenny Derr

Jordan, Jenny and Billy

Three years ago I came across a passage on Anticipatory Grief.

Anticipatory Grief
“There are numerous obstacles that inhibit family recovery from addiction. One of the most critical is the cumulative effects of anticipatory grief.  Anticipatory Grief (AG) is a process through which grieving begins in expectation of an imminent loss.  It is the rehearsal- the progressive letting go-that unfolds as a loved one’s behavior might lead to death.

AG is particularly evident when families have experienced numerous near-death experiences of a family member, such as when a loved one with addiction overdoses. Read more...

I lost my grandaughter, Elizabeth Jarrard, to overdose

by Betty Schnellenberger

Elizabeth Bryan Jarrard was my first granddaughter so that made her special plus she was my namesake. She had riotous curls every mother wants for her little girl. Elizabeth became an Army brat early born at Ft. Bragg and moving to her dad’s other posts including Alaska and Belgium.

At each move every three years every school district proved more difficult for her academically. When my son in law finally retired to Frisco, TX we hoped she would find her place amount lasting friends at the last high school; however that began her descent into a very … Read more...

Can one add humor to a grief story?

Image from hospicewhispers.com

The message I have to deliver is one people need but not one they necessarily want to hear.

Many expect that they will hear a sad story and there will be no humor. After all, it’s a story about my child’s depression, addiction to heroin and his suicide. So of course there are parts that bring me and the audience to tears. It’s not a comedy.

However, I am also telling a story about the funniest, most popular kid in school. And there are times in our story that I had to laugh or I would have … Read more...

Avoidance and grief

I walked into a grocery store. I was trying to do real life things but it was like wading through sludge. Thankfully, we still had meals coming to the house and what I needed was just the basics. I was so grateful for that.

As soon as I went inside, I saw someone I knew duck quickly into another aisle.

My God I was being avoided.

For the most part, my friends and neighbors had greeted me, hugged me. I had been very public about my son’s addiction and suicide. But this stung. I had experienced the most devastating loss … Read more...

Bereaved Parents, July is Our Month

The weight of the grief at first was so unbearable, I was sure i couldn’t survive. I never knew emotional pain inspired so much physical hurt. And this statue expresses that so well. Grief, like love, inspires beautiful and meaningful art.

It hurts all year, some months more than others, but July is our month of acknowledgement and our opportunity to educate.

I’m going to post here a few of the hundreds of grief posts from this site. I literally wrote my way through the grief process and still do. I will be doing things throughout the month in honor … Read more...

My teen just lost a friend to suicide. How can I help my child?

Digital StillCamera

Unresolved loss is an underlying reason for a lot of substance misuse/addiction as well as a contributing factor for completed suicide.

We think of children as resilient but that doesn’t mean they “get over it.” Grief is not something that just goes away, you simply learn to live with it. If you love someone, it hurts to lose them. Unresolved loss is the result of trying to avoid the grief or going silent on the subject altogether.

I couldn’t avoid the pain of losing Charles when he died by suicide And no other hurt I ever experienced was … Read more...

Loss of a child rewrites your address book

I first heard this quote from my friend Karla Helbert, LPC. Because when I lost a child to suicide and drugs, I lost friends, too

Charles suffered from depression, an addiction to heroin and killed himself while going through withdrawal. The method left no question. This cause of death didn’t scream, “Mother of the year.” And what’s more, it didn’t motivate people to seek me out to engage in conversation either. In fact, it was obvious some avoided me altogether. You can’ miss someone scurrying away from you at the grocery to avoid running in to you.

After his death, … Read more...

How does Richard answer, “Do you have any siblings?”

1 minute 14 second video

This one minute video shows how Richard answers the question, “So how many brothers or sisters do you have? It illustrates the awkwardness of the question when you are a 26-year-old single guy in Los Angeles, California.

Charles suffered from addiction and depression and died by suicide but that’s more information than Richard is prepared to share with another young adult he doesn’t know very well.

Helpful Article: Sibling Suicide Survivors: The “Forgotten Mourners”

Richard on the left. Charles on the right.

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In memory of Christopher Baker, a wonderful human being

Memory page for Chris, June 10, 1980 – June 2, 2019

Randy: “Hi. My name is Randy Rogers and I am calling you to find out if any of the guys in the recovery house need to make some money because we need some landscaping done.”

Lee: “Yeah. There’s a guy named Chris. Come by on Saturday and I’ll introduce you.”

My husband, Randy, goes to the recovery house where Lee is house manager. This was where Charles lived for a single day before his relapse and ultimate suicide. Instead of the 19-year-old named Chris that Lee told us … Read more...

When the world says give up, hope whispers

This is one of lines in Charles’ lyrics.

And on the occasion of his fourth death anniversary, I wanted to start with that. He died by suicide June 5, 2015, the worst day of my life. By comparison even a death anniversary will never feel as awful and unbearable as that day. And for that, I am grateful.

There are times I feel like giving up. Not on life but this cause. And then I ask myself, “So what else do you want to do?” There really isn’t anything else I want to do. By next year I need … Read more...