Letters to the Editor

Anticipatory Grief in Parents of Dying Children


Am Fam Physician. 1999 May 1;59(9):2435.

to the editor: In a recent “Curbside Consultation” feature,1 Dr. Grossman's comments on the case scenario dealing with anger in parents of dying children were excellent. I would add another thought to the author's advice on direct communication with parents. The mother's anger reflects her anticipatory grief. Her grieving and her fears about the death of her child should be openly and compassionately discussed. This type of communication would be very difficult for any professional without the proper training and support. Sometimes, the grieving parent may benefit by talking with other parents who have survived such grief, perhaps in a support group setting. Another approach would be to extend hospice services to more children.

Dr. Davis is medical director of the Community Hospice of Albany County, Albany, NY.


1. Grossman LS. Understanding anger in parents of dying children [Curbside Consultation]. Am Fam Physician. 1998;58:1211–2.

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