The various upcoming holidays provide many different emotions when we are bereaved grandparents. Some grandparents have other grandchildren with us, like I do, but the one that is missing always reminds us of our loss and our broken hearts during the holidays.
I am a grandmother of a grandchild, no longer with me, and my loss was nine years ago. Through those years after the loss, my focus on life has changed greatly and I am a much different person than before the loss of my precious two-year-old grandson, Avery. I am much more understanding and compassionate to others. I do not let things bother me, as so much of that is trivial once we experience such a loss.
The first thing I want to remind everyone is that those who have lost a grandchild will always be a grandparent to that grandchild. They will always remain in your hearts, minds, and soul no matter the age of the grandchild or if the reason they were lost was due to miscarriage or stillbirth.
* Always remember that love is eternal. Your love for them will never cease, as they existed and are a part of your family.
* Make it a tradition to say their name often. Share memories and experiences you have had with any surviving siblings and little cousins. Place pictures out at eye level so those little ones will always remember them and know that you have never forgotten them.
* Look for messages from them; they come in many forms. Being open to receiving such messages will bring you much comfort when they appear.
* You may find it necessary to change some of your holiday traditions as prior traditions may be difficult for some family members. This can be done in various ways and something you will need to experiment with, especially early in loss. Check with the parents how they feel about celebrating.
* Remember everyone grieves differently. Each of us are at different places in our grief and we must allow ourselves time to grieve along with the parents and siblings. As grandparents, we must take care of ourselves so that we can help our children, surviving siblings, and other grandchildren, if you have more.
* You may want to honor and remember your precious missing grandchild during the holidays. This can be done in various ways. Some grandparents get creative and do gifts of kindness to others. Some grandparents create memorial gardens, purchase a bench, a statue, and so many other creative ways. The tradition of lighting a candle in the evening is helpful for many.
* Lastly, remember your grief as a grandparent is a heavy loss and reaching out to others is very helpful. It allows you to know there are others walking similar journeys of loss and none of us are walking alone. We need to learn from others further along in our journey and the best way to achieve that is by joining The Compassionate Friends (TCF) and exploring the many resources they have such as chapters found throughout the US, private TCF Facebook groups and Online Chat sessions. To get you started, I suggest The Compassionate Friends National website and be sure to review the various tabs included there to find what may help you out. compassionatefriends.org
Compassionate hugs and sending love to all this season from Debbie Fluhr, Avery’s Grandmother
Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.