A Swedish widowhood study revealed that four out of ten widows regarded the pre-loss period more stressful than the post-loss. The present investigation of close relatives to patients dying from cancer (using interviews and the Anticipatory Grief Scale) found that preparatory grief involves much emotional stress, as intense preoccupation with the dying, longing for his/her former personality, loneliness, tearfulness, cognitive dysfunction, irritability, anger and social withdrawal, and a need to talk. Psychological status was bad one by every fifth. However, the relatives mostly stated adjustment and ability to mobilize strength to cope with the situation. The results suggest development of support and guiding programs also for the anticipatory period.