Retreats For Anticipatory Grief

We help people who are caught up in anticipatory grief. 

People attend our retreats for a variety of reasons related to grief and other difficult emotions, including anticipatory grief.

The common denominator is that they are stuck in emotional pain.

Grief is generally about a loss in the recent or distant past.

Anticipatory grief differs from other grief as it is grief in the present moment that is anticipating or worried about a future loss.

What Is Anticipatory Grief?

Anticipatory Grief (AG) is grieving before a future loss. It could be about our self or another person.

It's the worry, fear and grief that something will happen to us or someone we love and care about:

  • Losing an aspect of our identity--loss of career, financial loss, divorce, loss of ability
  • Getting a terminal Illness diagnosis
  • Death of a family member--father, mother, sister, brother, child
  • Death of a friend, or their moving away
  • Ending of a marriage or long-term relationship
  • Pet Loss, the impending death of an animal companion

In all cases we experience grief now even though the event or situation has not yet occured. We are waiting, anticipating a tragic event.  We are imagining how things will be without that person, or pet, or ability.

As the old saying puts it, we're "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Anticipatory Grief

Heaviness. Grief is the heaviest of all the feelings. It weighs us down. It's tiring! It slows us down. It can be so heavy that we are exhausted.

Anxiety and Fear. Our nervous system can be agitated by AG, more so than with other forms of grief. We may have issues with sleeping and wake up with anxious feelings. Our dreams can be agitated. We can even have heart palpitations, along with appetite changes, and restlessness. We can find ourselves nervous, on edge, and tense.

Anger. Some people say that there is often more anger than in other forms of grief, although at our retreats I find that anger is pretty closely related to all forms of grief. Getting to our suppressed anger can often speed up our grieving process.

Depression. If our grief is ignored and suppressed, we can experience symptoms of depression.

Shock. An unexpected medical diagnosis, an accident or sudden loss can throw us into shock, into a temporary freeze response. We work with this type of response by gently bringing a participant back into their body through gentle movement, particularly of their arms and legs, where other emotions can then can be worked through.

At our retreats for anticipatory grief, participants work through the layers of their grief. As they do, these symptoms lift, and they come back to the present.

Anticipatory Grief and Pet Loss


We have only recently invited folks who have lost their animal companions to attend our retreats. I was hesitant to include folks whose grief concerned their pets because I didn't want them to be projected on my the non-pet participants.

But I was wrong! Their grief for the loss of a cat or a dog was totally acknowledged and accepted. 

Pet loss is unique in that our animal companions live a much shorter life than humans, so when we commit to loving an animal it is more likely we will outlast them and experience a loss.

Tragedies do happen, and human and animal lives can be cut short far before their normal span.

People have attended our retreats due to a loved one's death due to suicide, drug abuse, car accidents, disease, murder, etc. And others have attended due to the normal or untimely death of their pets.

How Our Retreats For Anticipatory Grief Can Help

Our Grief, Loss and Difficult Emotions retreats are a unique approach to working through feelings. They are not, like other retreats, focused on bringing about a deeper understanding through talking about the experience of loss.

Our retreats focus on healing stuck emotions in the body. Grief, and related feelings, live inside of us. For example, the heaviness of grief weighs us down, pains our hearts, and affects our digestive organs. (See above for a more complete list of how feelings affect our body.)

And as one teacher said, "Grief never dances alone," meaning that anger, anxiety, worry and other feelings are always part of grieving, often just below our awareness. 

In our experience at the retreats these unacknowledged feelings actually can prolong the grieving. As they are felt they change, giving us back our power and Light, and our joy.

About Grief


We don't actually work grief through so that it is gone. Grief is the slowest feeling to heal. Grief is an essential part of love.

What we can do is recognize and acknowledge our grief, feel and digest it so we can be more present to love, now and in the future.

If the anticipatory grief is about us, we can more deeply love ourselves.

If this grief is about another, we can be more present to them, loving more deeply and effectively while they are here with us.

And to love without regret later on because we were able to be present and love.

But to get there often takes working through our other feelings.

A Lot Happens In A Short Time

Our retreats are very short, usually 3-4 days in length. But in that short time, we can do an enormous amount of work to bring deep relief. 

People have called me to say that the retreat is too short, that they must have a longer event, that they couldn't possibly get to what they needed in that short of time.

I don't believe that is true. To me that was the weight of their grief talking.  I have seen hundreds of participants transform over and over again at the retreats.

It's not time that is needed, but depth of healing. Go here to read more about why the retreats can accomplish so much in a short time.

For more information

Go from Retreats For Anticipatory Grief to Grief and Loss Retreat page

Go To Helping People With Grief 

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