Anticipatory grief

I’m wondering if people here may feel a sense of “anticipatory grief” relating to others who aren’t into prepping or who aren’t into avoiding infection with pathogens? As I understand it and as I’m putting it in simple words, anticipatory grief is grieving for someone who hasn’t literally died yet even though they’re on that trajectory. It’s complicated grief because there aren’t cultural supports for the grieving process and because there are plenty of unknowns. 

As background, some of my friends and acquaintances act like it’s 2019 or earlier and are traveling, going to large in-person gatherings, and doing other activities that seem risky even as they aren’t taking rudimentary preparedness actions or taking care of their general health. I try to lead by example in my circles, but I’m not invested in trying to change their behavior otherwise (staying in my lane). 

I’ve caught myself thinking, “Say good-bye inside. He won’t be around in 5 years. “Say good-bye inside. She won’t be around in 10 years.” Of course, the so-called Doomsday Clock is at what, 90 seconds to midnight? 

Anyway, I’m just curious. Best regards to all.


  • Comments (4)

    • 3

      You need to read Josh Centers’ incredible post related to Stoicism https://theprepared.com/blog/cultivating-a-survival-mindset-the-stockdale-paradox-stoicism-and-the-importance-of-partying-on/  It changed my life.  Stoicism has a lot of wisdom about “letting go”, putting your attachments to others, as well as possessions, in perspective, healthy attitudes towards death, and not wasting time grieving for future events that have not yet happened.  Accepting death as a continuum of life, “returning” loved ones and not dreading the inevitable are not a cure for grief, but an emotional rock to lean on, to make it bearable. Your pre-event grief is also interfering with your ability to love and celebrate your friends in the present, which is constantly slipping through your fingers.

    • 3

      I visited some family in Feb 2020. I didn’t tell them this at the time, but part of my motivation was to see them one last time in case they didn’t make it.

      I pushed hard for them to wear respirators in 2020. We sent one of our only two half face elastomeric respirators so they could protect themselves during errands. I’m not even sure it was used. And it definitely wasn’t appreciated once a few days had passed. I pushed hard for vaccination in 2021. They were reluctant but eventually got one shot each of J&J. That was a big relief – at least it probably wouldn’t kill them now.

      That’s my limit. I know there’s still a danger. But the stress/value tradeoff of pushing for more precautions at this point doesn’t seem worth it. My wife and I take care of ourselves.

    • 2


      When we grieve for others we are expressing a form of love.

      All our family and friends have free will, just like us and everyone else in the world. The risks we prepare for may not apply to them, may not be the biggest risk they face, may not impact them as we expect or as described. It’s up to each of us to decide what our risk profile is and how will we react.

      I have been wrong about the health prospects of others so many times that I finally learned to catch myself when I start doing and just stop.

      I have a neighbor that smokes 4 packs of cigarettes a day (since he was 14), got COVID twice, took no precautions and is still walking around town just fine at 84 years old. I have a SIL that died at 27 two years ago from pneumonia (test 5x for COVID, all negative).

      None of us have a crystal ball. They may be grieving us before they go.

    • 1

      nope, not concerned about others that dont prep, that is their choice.