I am powerless, I am helplessness, I am frustrated, I sit with her and I cry with her. I cannot reach inside her and take her broken heart and fix it, I must watch her suffer day after day.

Margaret H. Gerner – For Bereaved Grandparents

A Grandparent’s Grief

The grandparent-grandchild relationship is so very special. When a grandchild dies, the grief of grandparents is complicated because not only do they mourn for their grandchild, but they also feel the helplessness and despair of not being able to take away the pain and devastation felt so intensely by the parents of their grandchild. In particular one of whom is their precious child!

Sometimes after the devastating loss of a Grandchild, with the funeral arrangements and all the comings and going. The grandparent’s grief gets over looked as everyone’s focus is on the bereaved parents and siblings.

One of our bereaved parents said when her daughter died,  her mother and father  felt it should have been them. They felt guilty that here they were at the end of their lives and their darling granddaughter was just at the beginning of hers!  Why was she taken and they left? They would have gladly exchanged places.

Like all of us they found it so hard to make sense of it all.  They are trying to be strong and support their own Adult Child through their bereavement yet they want to know “why”…

So often bereaved grandparents are told that they “must get back to normal” or “be strong for the sake of your son or daughter”. But what is now normal for them will never be the same as it was before their grandchild’s death. How can it be? How can they be strong? The cruelest trick of all has been played. The Grandparent has outlived the grandchild. That was not the natural turn of life’s events, grandchildren bury grandparents, this was not the way it was suppose to happen!

Grief is the terrible price we all pay for loving. Grandparents love both the grandchild who died and the grieving parents and surviving grandchildren.

The Bethany parish groups throughout Ireland  can offer Grandparents somewhere to go after the death of their grandchild where their grief will be understood.