by Lesley Postle, Editor of GriefandSympathy
Coping with the loss of your grandmother will depend greatly on the relationship you had with her and also on the reaction of your parents to the loss. Some of us are not lucky enough to know our grandmothers at all, and others will perhaps live a long distance away and not know them well. For some, a grandmother is their second mother.
There's something to be said about a young person spending quality time with a much older one. When parents are bogged down with responsibilities—picking the little ones up from school, dropping them to sports or music practice, going to work, working overtime, and coming home only to cook dinner and organize the mess children have made, there isn't much time left to spend with them. The few spare minutes that they do have do not offer room enough to indulge in long conversations. And they are tired, thus impatient and grumpy.
But grandmas are never tired or impatient or grumpy for their grandchildren. This is why little ones (even teenagers!) turn to their grandparents and often find a friend in them.
They say ‘the older, the mellower.’ As a result, your grandmothers may often be more accepting of your shortcomings than perhaps your parents might be. This can really help you open up to your grandparents, something that can seem like a challenge sometimes when it comes to parents.
In ways that are soft and warm, grandmothers teach us values and morals that may influence our thoughts and actions throughout our lives.
Not everyone is close to their grandmothers. Each one of us understands, feels, and mourns the death of a grandparent differently. There will be those with a ‘so-what!’ attitude because they are oblivious to the atmosphere of positivity the presence of an elderly close-one can create. On the other end of the spectrum you may be drowning in grief, guilt, and hopelessness. It will also, of course, very much depend on the age you are when you lose your grandmother.
The bad news is wherever you may lie, a loss is a loss; it cannot be sugar-coated.
And the good news? (yes, there is one!) The good news is that you can always learn to swim to keep yourself from drowning.
Grieving a grandmother can often be a child's first experience of death; reactions can range from overwhelming to not really registering what has happened.
Children may be affected more by the ways in which their parent deals with the grief, and not process their own grief until much later in life. See our story about how denial of grief by the parent can affect the child. It’s important to talk to children about the loss so that they can understand and process it. Click here to learn how to talk to children about grief.
Children’s reactions to grief might include:
Withdrawal or clinging
Physical symptoms such as stomach aches or not sleeping
They may ask lots of questions, which can be quite literal
Not performing at school
It’s a good idea to talk to the children’s teachers about what has happened so that they can also be aware of any changes in the child’s behaviour.
If you are an adult, you may go through any of the normal emotions of grief, such as shock, denial, depression, sadness, crying or even guilt-tripping, thinking about how you could have spent more time with grandma while she was still alive. (See our page on 65 Common Reactions to Grief)
That's okay. Cry. Cry your heart out. Whoever says crying is not OK, is badly mistaken.
Try not to escape into distractions or addictions to alcohol or eating. Embrace it, instead. Simply put, allow yourself to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to grieve your way through. There is no 'time limit' so you can count the hours until the process is over.
Instead, use some of our self-health techniques to give yourself the time and space to grieve.
The death of any close one provides an avenue for thought-provoking doubts about life and death. But one of the most confronting thoughts is thatdeathcould possibly do the same for you. Often the loss of our grandparents can be our first experience of the death of a close loved one, and it does bring up thoughts of our own immortality. Something we may not have considered up to that point and which can take some mental adjustment.
If we can find meaning in life, and make the most of every day, it helps us. Also, making the most of our precious memories and treasuring them is a comfort.
Grieving the loss of a grandmother becomes a whole lot easier when—despite her absence—you imagine her walking beside you anyway, scolding you in the sweetest of waysand slyly smiling at you when you pull naughty stunts to annoy grandpa.It becomes a whole lot easier when you think of the beautiful stories her wrinkles have always told. It’s unfortunate how time passed all too quickly, yet it is but time that will soften the blow.
No, you cannot see her smile. You cannot hear her voice. You cannot feel her hand repeatedly patting your head.
But how difficult can it be, to try to let your memory. . .
Feed your imagination?
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Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one. Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles. Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift.
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
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Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
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