Our grandparents will never die. They will remain sleeping deep in our hearts and will always appear in the warm memories we have created around them. The toughest thing about it all is the farewell.
It is true that grandparents are the joy of our childhood in many ways. Their warm looks and caresses as we grow will always remain in the memory of our senses. And while they had the joy to see us growing, our role is to witness their aging and saying goodbye.
It is never an easy choice to make when you need to understand that the first person to go is the one you would rather not let go. The special bond we have created and grown up with is too big to simply let go of.
As an adult, you realize this sooner than a child would. And naturally, you would do anything for your child to skip over the grief that is ahead. So, many parents make up different fantastic stories about magical places, and the stars – places that the deceased grandparent has gone to.
The question is: Do you think that this is the best choice? You may think that saying that final goodbye is too much for a child. Therefore, you would choose to leave your child out of the grief circle. However, psychologists stand adamantly against the idea.
Alan Wolfelt, a noted children’s psychologist, once said: “Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve.” And this is an emotion that everyone should experience. The fact that your child is losing one of their heroes is a key point in your child’s life, responsible for experiencing the emotion we will all inevitably experience.
Grief is a form of self-expression, and it is more natural and healthy than the idea that the child’s favorite hero has drifted away from them for no particular reason. In fact, when a child is denied their opportunity to grieve, the consequences may be adverse, according to psychologists.
When a child is not given a proper explanation of what had happened, it is highly likely that their imagination will fill up the gaps. Sometimes, this can prove to be much worse than the actual situation, and it can leave some disturbing trauma on their psyche.
It is necessary that you adapt your explanation to their age but never use vague metaphors. And, most importantly, you must avoid the mistake of the many who have prevented their children from saying their last goodbye with their grandparent in the hospital.
Here are some things you should do in such inevitable cases:
- You need to help your child understand the concept of death in simple words, without any metaphors and vague expressions. Saying that their grandparent has left will leave an open expectation of him/her coming back.
- If you explain death to your child from a religious perspective, make sure you emphasize the fact that their grandparent is not coming back. You should be brief, simple, and precise in your explanations. The young mind is only able to handle limited amounts of information.
- You shouldn’t hide your emotions in front of your child. This may have them think that feeling grief is not normal. It is only appropriate that you show your child that it is alright to feel sad, even as an adult.
- The loss of a grandparent will be a very complex matter that your child needs to handle, so the best thing to do at such times is to rely on each other and let the grief take its natural course. There will be time for answers, but perhaps in a better moment.
Our grandparents will always remain with us – invisible
Even if they are not physically around us, our grandparents will always remain with us.
They held our hand when we first learned to walk, they babbled with us when we learned to talk. They will always remain in the children’s songs they sang with us, and in the sweet smell of the cakes, they baked for us.
They will live on in every wise advice they shared with us, in every story they told us, and in every of our ambitions they cheered about. They were here to show us how to slow down with our lives and not care what others may think of us, and some will always associate this attitude with them.
Their language will remain to resound in our memory because it was much more than words. It was a language of warm smiles, eyes full of tears of joy, gentle caresses, and infinite patience.
They will live on in the warmth of our hearts, and the habits we inherited from them, that we will start to recognize more as we grow toward their age.
They are one of our greatest lessons in life, whole volumes of childhood memories, and something we should eventually bring closure to, but never forget.