Grieving The Death of a Grandchild

In an old science fiction tale, the author opens the story with a death scene. In describing the dying character, the writer pictures an old man beneath the covers from the neck down, his head on the pillowcase like a shriveled nut on a white paper napkin. A young man, less than thirty years old and with tears in his eyes, sits by the old man’s bedside.

In the course of the story, we learn that the dying man is the grandchild of the weeping man. In this fictional world, science had conquered death. Yet sometimes a person’s genetic makeup rejected the treatment that preserved everlasting life. Thus the young man witnessed a grandchild dying of old age.

Grieving The Death of a Grandchild

It feels perverted when a child dies ahead of the parent – even more so when one must endure the death of a grandchild. The grief of such a loss is almost unbearable, the pain so deep that even the darkness between the stars of the midnight sky seem shallow by comparison.

But finding your way out of the emptiness is not impossible. Help is available, personalized help, help that identifies you as an individual with a distinct method for handling grief and pain.

Current Treatments

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, in 2010 over seven million children worldwide died before reaching the age of five years old. In the good news, this report reflects a slowing in the number of preventable deaths. However, each day still bears the cross of nearly 22,000 children under five years old.

Who can really understand your pain? The very effort to treat prolonged grief stirs controversial questions. Losing a grandchild produces:

  • Acute stress
  • Extended mêlées with immeasurable sadness
  • A prolonged desire to be alone
  • Emotional numbness
  • An inability to redefine your place among family and society
  • Intense sense of guilt
  • Even the inability to cope with daily life.

In the gray area of treatment, many theorists advocate targeted grief therapy yet resist universal intervention. Possible healing techniques include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral techniques such as cognitive restructuring and exposure processes
  • Crisis or other intervention services
  • Pharmacotherapy as a means of reducing bereavement-related depression
  • Family-based support groups
  • Internet-based therapies
  • Preventive associations
  • And More.

Never Really Alone

You are not alone in a dark world that lacks any form of exit. Death is expected but help is available to the survivors. Others have walked this lonely path. Books that help:

“When a Grandchild Dies: What to Do, What to Say, How to Cope” by Nadine Galinsky
“Grandparents Cry Twice: Help for Bereaved Grandparents” by Mary Lou Reed
“Forgotten Tears: A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief” by Nina Bennett.

One Comment

  1. My granddaughter passed away less than 2 weeks ago. My brain knows the facts, I can say she passed away. My heart refuses to accept this. I still think she will show up to visit. Reality is not an option when I try to tell myself otherwise.

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