I can say that for many of us, our grandparents are a huge part of our lives and once they’re gone, the heartbreak is tremendous.
While they get to see us being born and growing up, we don’t know for how long they will be part our lives and often that’s the first loss we face in our childhood.
Many grandparents get the joy of raising their grandchildren, thus leaving legacies and traces in the child’s life which creates a special bond between those two generations. Children are aware that the role of grandparents is different from the one of their parents.
Some of us have the privilege to have our grandparents even in adulthood, but there are others who have to say goodbye to their beloved grandparents early in their childhood when death isn’t quite clear to them.
Psych pedagogues suggest that parents should be frank and clear when they explain the meaning of losing a loved one to their children, but it is also important to know how to adapt the news according to their age.
This is how you can help your child face with the loss of a grandparent:
- The child must understand death simply and without metaphors. This will spare you and your child from misconceptions and misunderstandings. If you tell your child that their grandfather has left, it is only logical that they will as you when will he come back.
- If you choose to go with a religious approach, you must make it clear that the grandparent isn’t coming back. The explanation must be brief and simple as the young mind can only comprehend limited amounts of information.
- Adults mustn’t hide their feelings in cases of loss. Children must see and know that in such case, it is important to express your feelings and that it is ok to cry and speak openly about it.
- Parents should expect tons of questions which require intelligent and precise answers. The best thing is to grieve with the whole family and to be very careful with the questions and needs of your child during that time.
Grandparents are immortal in our memories. Their heritage is passed on in various ways and even their great-grandchildren who have never met them can still feel close to the memories of their great-grandparents. They continue to live in the tree in your backyard that you planted with them. Part of them is still in the yellow photos in the old photo album. They are still in the songs they used to sing to us, still in the smell of the cake and the cookies they used to bake for us, they are still present in every life lesson they taught us through the years.