“When a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice. They mourn the loss of the child and they feel the pain of their own child’s suffering. Sometimes we forget about the grandparents when a child dies. You can help by not forgetting, by offering the grandparents your love, support and presence in the weeks and months to come.” ~ ~ ~ A child or young adult has died. Everyone who loved the child is now faced with mourning this tragic, untimely death. The child’s parents are heartbroken. But what about the grandparents? How might they be feeling? How can you help them with their unique grief? This article will guide you in ways to turn your concern for the grandparents into positive action.
I became a mother when Riley was born. I became a poet when he died. His death and writing poetry are intertwined like the malformed vessels of his AVM and his brain—rooted, inseparable as a banyan and its host tree. If Riley hadn’t died, I would not be writing poetry. I wouldn’t have survived the tsunami of his death without that lifeline. In the hospital, when we were given the news that Riley would not survive his third bleed, a nurse whispered in my ear. I don’t remember what she looked like, but I remember her ethereal embrace and the way she placed my hair behind my ear, and whispered, “You’ve been given a gift.”
Ken sat on the couch across from me, smiled and exclaimed, “I stopped it! The uncontrollable crying. I stopped it!” Just the week prior I had been at a loss as the 59-year-old self-avowed “momma’s boy” cried with an overpowering despair. He had been completely inconsolable over the death of his 82-year-old mother. As a fledgling bereavement counselor, I had walked away from his initial session wondering if I could ever be able to help Ken. His inability to see any reason for joy and hope had silenced me for almost the entire hour. For all of Ken’s life prior to his mother’s death, each had been all the other had. A successful businessman, Ken had never married and neither had his mother.
The journey through grief is different for all of us … we all take our own path. Someone you love has died. This presents you with one of the most challenging experiences any human being can face—coping with the loss of your loved one in your life. In this article, you will learn about your grief (experiencing your reactions to the loss of your loved one) and your mourning (making necessary readjustments to ultimately fit that loss into your life). Learning how to grieve healthfully and to mourn so that you can learn to adapt to life in the absence of your loved one, is no simple task. It often requires more work, takes more time and is more impacting than most people anticipate.
David’s birth was not guaranteed. Because my cervix was pre-cancerous, I was told by my doctor to get pregnant immediately. If the cancer spread, he’d remove my cervix and the baby, too, no matter how far along I was. David made it! My first-born child was full term and a wonder. By eighteen months he could read the alphabet and at two he was playing chess with my father, who called him “King David.” He was the happiest little guy, full of curiosity and bursting with love. David was so kind and gentle that I often said to my sister-in-law, “He’s too good to live.”
For over twenty years as a physician, I've witnessed, time and again, the healing power of tears. Tears are your body's release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. Also, you can have tears of joy, say when a child is born, or tears of relief when a difficulty has passed. In my own life, I am grateful when I can cry. It feels cleansing, a way to purge pent-up emotions so they don't lodge in my body as stress symptoms, such as fatigue or pain. To stay healthy and release stress, I encourage my patients to cry. For both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity.
Dear Dr. Neimeyer, I lost my husband in an accident over 25 years ago while we were getting ready for his grandmother’s funeral. There were so many unanswered questions, as our daughter was only a year old and she is now nearing 30. But my question is why I still have my moments of tears and sadness. I can talk about it, and I will tear up as if it just happened. I still function, but I feel like I’m not where I ought to be in life. Can you help me understand? – Connie Dear Connie, As you have found, with the death of a loved one life changes in an instant, but the repercussions can be felt for an eternity.
Am I going crazy? To address your question “Am I going crazy?” the answer is no, you are not, although I understand how you might feel as if you are sometimes. We have all felt that. You are grieving normally and naturally, given your circumstances and lack of physical grief support, such as private counseling by a true grief expert or regularly attending a grief group with other parents who get it. I'm still having a hard time understanding why. After ten years, I wonder if the question you ask of “Why?” is still a true/real question or one that you find yourself, as when you are in disbelief that he is actually gone from this world, asking as a more generalized question, still trying to understand how such a thing could have happened so quickly
In the wealth of studies about parental grief, little attention has been paid to precisely how couples relate to each other as they struggle to come to terms with the death of a child. A new study addresses this gap in bereavement research by focusing on the way that couples together process the grief of losing a child. Among life's many tragedies, the death of a child is one that is perhaps the greatest for parents. No matter what the age of the child or the cause of death, the irrefutable fact of the loss is one that shatters the normal cycle of life, leaving parents traumatized and often incapacitated by grief.
The holidays are here, and for most people it is a time of coming together with families and friends. Sure, some of you might dread what happens when your families get together and the challenges of getting along begin, or for some it's nothing but a spectacular time with love and laughter and gratitude that you are all together. Yet, for those who are grieving, the holidays, especially for the first few years, are something often dreaded as people try to figure out how to endure the holidays. What used to be a time they looked forward to is now a time they would rather forget about.
When I was three and a half years old, I went crashing into a glass door on the first floor of my family’s home in Chevy Chase, Md. The worst damage was not from my arm going through the door, but from it coming back out. A shard of glass, still fixed in the door frame, entered my arm at the armpit and then, as I fell backward and down to the ground, it sliced open my arm all the way up to the wrist. I suffered complete severing of my radial artery, and total or partial transection of the radial, ulnar, and median nerves, and of various muscles.
Losing someone you love can change your world. You miss the person who has died and want them back. You may feel sad, alone, or even angry. You might have trouble concentrating or sleeping. If you were a busy caregiver, you might feel lost when you’re suddenly faced with lots of unscheduled time. These feelings are normal. There’s no right or wrong way to mourn.Losing someone you love can change your world. You miss the person who has died and want them back. You may feel sad, alone, or even angry.