Grief is a universal reaction experienced by all of us at some time in our lives. The capacity that makes each of us capable of warm, satisfying relationships also leaves us vulnerable to sadness, despair, and grief when such relationships are disrupted (Carr, 1969). Regardless of the actual relationship that might have existed prior to the death, we have the tendency to idealize the relationship once death has occurred and we expect expressions of normal grief. Unfortunately, “normal grief’ is what society expects, but the needs of the individual prerequisites putting a label on grief. Because society influences our behavior through the secondary reinforcement of social approval during this time, we are not looking at the primary reinforcer of survival. The needs of each individual can only be understood in the light of knowledge of his/her own developmental background and the particular conflicts being mobilized, and what defenses are being used against these (Maddison & Raphael, 1972). This same developmental background is important in another aspect of death called anticipatory grief.
The term anticipatory grief was first used by Lindemann in 1944 to ” … denote a reaction to separation and the possibility of death rather than the inevitability of death” (Bourke, 1984). Over the years there has been much discussion and research has been done on anticipatory grief. But to this point research evidence is inconsistent. All research points to the fact that anticipated losses that face the individual are very real. “Their emotional investment in the individual’s presence, the satisfactions and warmth that they have received through their attachment to her or him, are soon to be ended”(Kalish, 1977).Since Lindemann (…
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