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Showing Sympathy To A Grieving Grandparent

Grief over the loss of a grandchild ranks as high as the pain of losing your own child. However, grandparents are often overlooked when sympathy is doled out for the grieving parents. Grandparents themselves may overlook their own grief, feeling not only severe sadness over the loss of their grandchild, but unexplainable grief that their child has to deal with such a tragedy. They may feel helplessness at the compounding grief. It is true that both the parents and the grandparents have lost a bit of their future.

It is important that grandparents realize the pain they are in is normal. They should expect to deal with the stages of grief as any other. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, they may feel guilt for not knowing the child was ill, or from not seeing an accident waiting to happen. During this time it is communication between the parents and grandparents that will help to keep feelings of guilt at bay. Remind each other that it is not any ones fault. Grandparents and friends should avoid comparisons to other deaths. Each death is unique and each process of grieving will be unique. Do not expect your child or mother and father to act as your friend did. It is okay to grieve. Time and compassion will help to start the healing process.

When offering sympathy to the grandparents remember to use as much sensitivity as you would if you were talking to the parents of the deceased. Avoid cliches. While you may mean well, and some cliches may be true, it will not be well received when they are in the midst of great turmoil. Offer to help organize meals for the child, be willing to call their friends for them, and above all respect their grief. Not only is their child hurting and they can not take away the pain, but they have also lost their grandchild whom they rejoiced over as much as they rejoiced over their own child's birth. Grandparents and grandchildren have a very unique relationship and bond. Many grandparents bond with their grandchildren as they did with their own child. The pain of losing a grandchild is coupled with the heartache they feel for their own child's pain.

Grandparents can need just as much support from their friends as a parent who loses a child. They can sink into a deep depression that is unhealthy and unproductive. Remind them it is okay to grieve, and help them to experience the sorrow and pain they are feeling at that time. Grieve with them, but do not try and take it away. Help them to realize that tears are an appropriate response to the grief and pain associated with death.

While they will want to bring comfort to their children, they in turn will need comfort from friends and family. Be there when they need you.