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Sunday, September 9, 2018 is Grandparent's Day in North America. Most of us remember having a special connection with our grandparents growing up and reminisce of the time spent together. Many people do not realize, however, the grief grandparents experience when they lose a grandchild via stillbirth, neonatal loss and miscarriage.
No one expects to outlive their own children, much less experience the loss of a much-loved, much-wanted grandchild. It is so difficult to raise a family, see your children do the same and see the cycle broken in this out-of-order way. NO one is prepared for the grief that follows. As a grandparent, you have double grief. You grieve your grandchild who has died, as well as for your own child who is now a bereaved parent. You not only feel your own pain and sadness, but also feel helpless and frustrated at not being able to help your bereaved child.
It helps to remember that there is no timetable for grief. Don't expect too much of your child, his or her spouse or yourself. At first, no one believes it. When the reality hits, everyone feels even more devastated. It is important to consider your needs as well as those of your bereaved child.
Acknowledging and working with your grief will help you and indirectly, your grieving child. Don't be surprised if at first you can't reach out to your grieving child. Remember that you are grieving. Be patient with yourself. Eventually, you may be able to talk, listen and help. IF you find that you can't help specifically with the grief you can send cards, tell them you love them, etc. Explain that you wish that you could be of more help but you don't know what to do.
SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING YOURSELF AND YOUR GRIEVING CHILD
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director