Our daughter passed away at the beginning of the year. I could write several blogs on grief from a parent's point of view. Today, I want to write about grandparents and what it is like for them to lose a grandchild.
Our daughter has two sets of grandparents. Everyone grieves in different ways and that is okay. I do see a similar grief response in both her grandparents that I have seen from others I know from support groups.
It is this: When a grandparent loses a grandchild, they grieve twice.
Grandparents grieve for the loss of their grandchild at the same time they grieve for their child who lost a child. As a parent, I know that the worst thing is when my children are hurt or emotionally upset. I just want to help them and take their pain away. My main goal at times like these is to make sure my child feels better fast. No parent likes to see their child upset or suffering.
The "parent side" of the grandparent cannot take their grown child’s pain away when they lose their child. There is no way to make things better. So the grandparent, who is also a parent, grieves two times. Once for their child and once for their grandchild.
Grief is so exhausting and can be physically painful as well. I cannot imagine grieving for two different people at the same time. Our daughter’s grandparents are wise beyond their years but none of them were prepared for the emotional toll that grief causes. They want to take care of us, their children, they want to be strong for us and hold us up.
But at the same time, they just lost a loved grandchild. They are trying to process that grief at the same time. It is so hard for them to be an emotional wreck but want to stay strong to support their child. There is nothing easy about this.
This webpage on coping with grief when your child passes away may offer some support.