I've seen a couple of blog posts recently about anticipatory grief. The definition has to do with grieving over something that is on the horizon, but you do not know when it is going to happen. Dealing with what might be is almost as difficult as dealing with what is. I remember this type of grief when we first learned that something was wrong with Trenton. I was around 32 weeks along at the time. The next 7 weeks seemed so long as I look back. By the time he was born though, somehow we were at peace about the situation, and we were hopeful that things would at least not be any worse than we expected. Anticipatory grief ends where actual grief begins.
Those who have cancer know anticipatory grief. Whether they are in remission or in the midst, the anxiety in the back of their minds is a type of grief. Those who have chronic illness know this. Those who have children with undiagnosed conditions know this grief. There is something about the ominous unknown that can bring about anticipatory grief.
As Christians, the way we deal with this grief should be different. Maybe that is why by the time Trenton was born, my husband and I were at peace about it. Anticipatory grief is basically anxiety, and God tells us to not be anxious about anything. He tells us that in everything by prayer and supplication- along with giving thanks to make our requests known to Him. In this, He promises peace. It does not really leave room for anticipatory anything other than hope. The God of hope doesn't want us to live in the what ifs. It's easy to do so, and I am not above it. I write with the full knowledge of this type of grief. May each of us strive to look ahead with hope in Christ rather than fear and dread of the future.