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The Loss of a Grandchild
When you become a grandparent, you do not stop being a parent. Your love, care and concern for your child remain constant throughout your lifetime.
Because of this, when a grandparent loses a grandchild, the anguish is doubled. You grieve for both your deceased grandchild and your child. You may even feel you have lost a part of yourself and your future.
At times, you may find it difficult to be a supporting parent to your bereaved child while trying to cope as a bereaved grandparent. You may focus on comforting and caring for your child and neglect your own feelings. Remember that both you and your child need care and support as you move through the grief process.
SUGGESTIONS FOR GRIEVING GRANDPARENTS
- Try to create a support system for yourself outside of the family circle. Encourage your child to do the same. Check with your local hospice, hospital or church for support groups.
- Be aware that every member of the family will grieve differently because each has had a different relationship with the child. It is normal to have different grief experiences.
- Consider spending additional time with your grandchildren and finding grief resources for them. The surviving children in the family may feel neglected or left out. When all of the adults are grieving, they have little energy to give support and attention to a grieving child. Although the parents are physically present, they are often emotionally unavailable to the surviving children.
- Keep your memories alive. Although they may bring tears and longing for the child, memories can also bring comfort.
- Remember that grief can affect you physically. Get a thorough checkup from your physician, take your medication, eat nutritious meals, rest and exercise regularly.
— Adapted from an article by Nancy E. Crump, M.S., Certified Grief Counselor