Grandparents are never absent. If they leave, they will always have a special place in our hearts.
Even today, after such a long time, we would still do anything to hear their words of wisdom, to ask them the questions no other person in the world could have the answers to. We long to sit down and forget about the everyday rush, just to look into their eyes that hold such immeasurable kindness.
Unfortunately for us, while our grandparents have the chance to see us growing up, by the time we are old enough to understand, we have to witness their health and vitally decline.
Saying goodbye to our grandparents is, for many, the first and hardest experience we go through when we are young; for many of us, it is our first time coming face to face with death.
Our grandparents, often who serve more as parents in their raising of us, stamp their legacies within us that will live on long after they are gone. They plant seeds that will grow much further than they ever imagined.
Even now, on the days that we can't hug them anymore, their love still surrounds us.
Developing a unique and special bond between grandchildren and grandparents is very common, and very enriching. None of us is ready for the last farewell. It is even harder to understand it when we are adolescents. This sudden separation can be frightful, troubled and delicate to manage.
Saying goodbye to grandparents - our first experience with loss.
The privileged ones who have enjoyed the company of their grandparents until adulthood are few. Young children or adolescents who have to go through this separation earlier in life will have a hard time accepting and comprehending the magnitude of this loss.
Parents frequently try to soften the death as much as possible, avoiding questions and hard feelings.
The truth is, we all need help dealing with the separation.
Be honest with your kids
The mistake many make during this loss is preventing their kids from saying goodbye to their grandparents at the hospital. Parents say "he's gone" or "he is now in a better place".
• If you tell a child that grandpa left, she'll ask you "When is grandpa coming back?"
• The explanation must be very brief and simple, even if you have a religious point of view. Be clear that there's no way back. Young ones have limited interpretation skills, so don't talk in circles.
• It's important for kids to see your tears, to witness your feelings. Don't hide. All of us have to be free to demonstrate how we feel. If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, we are helping kids do it as well.
• Answer your children's questions with precise and short answers. They will ask a lot of questions since it's very complex and puzzling for them. Be patient and try to have the family together to support one another. It is less complicated when we grieve together.
Even if they are not, they are still very present
• Even if the kids were too young to enjoy their grandparents' company, they still can get fragments that are very meaningful for their growth. You can visit places to remember and cherish memories. You can pass on the history and the heritage.
• The yellowed pictures are not the real memories. Talk about what made them special, bring them to life through stories. We are thankful for our ancestors and we have to acknowledge that we owe them everything.
• They are still present in the smells of delicious food of a specific aroma that bring us back to their house, bring us back to a cherished time with them.
• They are still part of our lives with their words of wisdom and even the unsaid advice that we as adults can ponder on.
• Grandparents have a language that goes beyond words. Their gifts to us are very meaningful and influential, beyond our genes.
• The small moments extend our appreciation of life forever. We carry their underlying smile and tenderness.
• We honor our heritage by keeping their spirit in our lives, every day.
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