Actually, our grandparents never die, they just become invisible and sleep forever deep in our heart. We miss them every minute and we would give anything to hear their interesting stories, to feel their hugs and look at their eyes full of infinite tenderness.
Our grandparents have the pleasure to see us being born and growing, but we must witness how they grow old and say goodbye to this world. The death of one of our grandparents is usually the first experience dealing with loss that we will have to face in our childhood.
It is normal to see grandparents taking part in raising their grandchildren. They symbolize an invaluable support relation for the families. Children feel that the role of grandparents is completely different from that of their parents.
Grandchildren and grandparents develop a very special, a deep and warm relationship, so the loss of the grandparents can be very shocking and delicate in the personality of a child or an adolescent. We wish to reflect on this topic with you.
Saying goodbye to Grandparents: Usually the first experience dealing with loss
People who are adults and still have their grandparents by their side are really privileged, but others had to face their death when they were still very young when children actually don’t understand a loss. Generally, adults are not able to completely explain what happened and they often try to soften the death as if it does not hurt.
However, psych pedagogues’ advice is that adults should tell the truth and should try to explain things clearly to their children. But, of course, parents should know how to adapt the bad news according to their children’ age. They must avoid making the mistake of many parents in preventing the last hug of the child with his grandfather in the hospital or beat around the bush with metaphors such as that the grandfather is sleeping in the sky and that he became a star in the sky.
- We are the one who must help the child understand death simply and without any metaphors so that mistaken belief is not formed. If we tell the child that his grandfather has left, it is expected that the child’s question is, when he will return.
- If we are trying to explain to the child the death from a religious side it is necessary to emphasize the fact that the dead is not going to come back. The explanations must be very short, simple and clear, remember that a child’s mind can only absorb limited amounts of information.
- It is also very important that adults shouldn’t hide their tears and feelings before the eyes of children. We must show them that death is not taboo. It is normal to feel sad for the loss of a loved one, we should suffer and should we speak of it freely.
- We have to be focused on the fact that children will ask us numerous questions and these questions require of precise and smart answers. The loss of grandparents will always be a very difficult matter no matter how old the person is, and the best thing to do at this moment is to mourn with the whole family and be very careful to any question of your children.
Even if they are not, they are very present
- Even if they are not, grandparents are always a part of our lives. They are present in those common places we share with our family and even in the advice or story, we offer to the new generations like new grandchildren or great-grandchildren who were not able to meet grandmother or grandfather.
- Grandparents are here to hold our hands while they taught us how to walk, but then, what they stay forever in our hearts, eternally giving us their light and their memory.
- The grandparents are present in all those old, black and white photos that are in a frame and not in the mobile memory. The grandparents are present in the tree that they once planted with their own hands or in the clothes that we still keep and that our grandmother sewed them.
- Grandparents are still present in the smell and taste of cakes that remain in our emotional memory. They are present in each of the wise advice we got from them, in the stories they told us, in the way we make the knots of our shoes and even in that dimple in the chin that we inherited from them.
- Grandparents are present in our feelings in a delicate and deep mode. Yes, they never die, they are more than simple genetics. They are here to show us how to walk at their own pace, how to enjoy an afternoon in the village, to learn that a good book has a unique and special smell, because they have a language that goes beyond words.
- It is a hug, a smile and a late afternoon walk sharing in silence as we watch the beautiful sunset. All of this will last forever and here is where the true eternity of people takes place.
- In the loving heritage of those who really love us and who honor us by remembering us every day.