Grandparents Grief

Excerpts from Pat Schwiebert, RN

Your child’s baby has passed away and sorrow fills your lives in a way that you may not have experienced in the past.  You grieve not only for the loss of your grandbaby that you will not get to enjoy growing up, but also for your children’s loss in not being able to have what he or she wanted so much.  It is a double loss for you, perhaps not as deep as the one your child will experience, but nonetheless significant, and in some ways more complicated.

Playing the role of a parent to a grieving adult child will be both a blessing and a curse as you try to figure out how you can be most helpful in any given situation.  Because you will be eager to do the right thing, and fearful of doing harm, you may find that you are often timid in your responses.  You will experience moments of affectionate caring and times of bittersweet emotional pain.

We try in vain to protect our children from the agony of death and grief.  A wise parent, however, learns to trust the child’s ability to swim in the sea of grief without drowning.  That same parent knows that the child can only become fully alive by being submerged in the depths of his or her sorrow, by experiencing the death and hell that is a part of grief, and finally by being restored to life as one forever changed.

How To Take Care of Yourself

  • Allow yourself to cry.  Cry hard if you need to but try not to cry harder than your children do while in their presence.  To do so may put them in the position of thinking they have to take care of you.  It is good for them to be able to see you cry though.  It gives them permission to cry also, especially if they have grown up feeling it is not okay for an adult to cry.  It also lets them know you care about the child, too.
  • Find someone to talk to, such as another grandparent who has lost a child.  You will be amazed at how quickly you will connect with such persons when you let others know what has happened to you.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Grief is both emotionally and physically exhausting.
  • Exercise. This helps to release the stress built up in grief.
  • Don’t deny your own feelings in order to take care of your child.

“We weep for that which would have been our delight.”

Please stay tuned for dates of future Grandparent Grief Workshops. Facilitated by Kathleen Herrington, MS, LPC Intern, learn techniques on coping with your own personal loss and how to help your adult children move through their grief.

Please know that counseling is available at no cost to you.  Please contact us to request more information about this service.