Have you suffered the loss of a child or grandchild? When we lose a loved one they may be gone but never forgotten. Our love one will forever remain in our hearts!
That being said, how do you go about the loss of a grandchild? Today I am going to talk about a subject that is so hard incredibly hard. His name is Tyler, our first grandchild.
Gone But Never Forgotten: Putting Tyler into Words
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Can you vision that moment Friends? No more tears, no more crying, no more death. As born-again followers of Jesus Christ, we cling to the hope, that we will see our loved ones again, that have accepted Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, when we get to Heaven. Oh, what a day that will be. What a Glorious Homecoming!
I’ve been playing, a game of tug of war, with God, about writing this particular post. I’ve tried to bargain with God. I will write about ANYTHING else, you lay on my heart but this! Haven’t we suffered enough! It’s too HARD!
I finally submitted to God, and said Ok Lord, your will be done, NOT mine! I don’t know who needs to hear this story, but God does, and I am going to obey, no matter how hard and difficult it is. My pain is poured out from within my heart and soul.
WELCOMING TYLER INTO THE WORLD
See Friends, January 16th has many happy memories. It also brings sadness. The topic I’m referring to is about Tyler, my first-born grandchild. Oh, the LOVE I have for him is indescribable. Can you imagine hearing, You’re gonna be a Mamaw?
I was beyond thrilled, and couldn’t wait, to see this little bundle of joy, and hold him in my arms. When Tyler was born, I can’t explain how it’s possible, to love someone so much, that you just met. But you do.
I can remember being told stories, jokingly about if you could just bypass the kids, and go straight to the grandchildren, life would be perfect. It’s a different kind of Love though.
I live in North Carolina, and my family lives in Kentucky. Mike and I couldn’t get enough, of spending time with our grandson. Tyler had us wrapped around his little fingers. Yep, that was Pap and me.
We already drove to Kentucky for two visits, within three months, and we wanted to see him again. So we packed up the car and drove another five-hour trip.
Before the Loss of Our Grandchild
Friends, I can’t explain how this visit was different. It just was. Have you felt burdened but not understood why? I mean come on, we’ve got a very healthy, happy, baby to love. What was wrong with me? I want you to understand, at this particular point in my life, I did NOT have a relationship with God.
I was saved when I was eighteen years old, but my relationship with God, was in a back-slide state, meaning I wasn’t living for God at that time. He NEVER once left ME, I left HIM! During that whole third visit, it was just OFF. The LOVE was stronger than EVER, I couldn’t understand the feeling in my heart.
As we always do, when it comes the time, to head back to North Carolina, Mike and I gave hugs and kisses on the cheeks, told everyone we loved them and would see them again soon. I wanted to get ONE MORE HUG from my baby. I knelt down to get Tyler from his stroller, and I had a wave of sorrow, overtake me.
somber state of mind
I clung to Tyler like I never had before while tears were pouring down my face, as I was kissing his chubby cheeks goodbye. We had to get on the road to head home to North Carolina but I didn’t want to release him. My daughter, bless her, said…”My goodness Mom, what is wrong with you, it’s not like your never gonna see him again?” Little did she know.
When You Know Something is Off
IT WOULD BE THE LAST TIME! When Mike and I walked off, I told him. “SOMETHING IS WRONG! I JUST KNOW IT!” I can’t explain it but I feel it, and he felt it also. That trip back to North Carolina was a slow sad one. Mike and I both were at a loss of words to speak. I can remember EVERY detail, from what takes place next.
Worse Fear Confirmed: coping with loss and coping with grief
It’s like it’s on a real hitting replay..replay. Four days had passed since we returned home. The workweek was the same as it always was. I went for a lunch break and left my cell phone on my forklift, which I NEVER did and upon returning I had several missed calls and voice mails.
I thought to myself, leave it to me, the one time I forget my cell phone, and that’s when I’m being called. So I flipped through the call log and seen that every one of the calls, came from my family in Kentucky. I was thinking to myself, what in the world!
Bitterness and Denial while COPING WITH LOSS AND COPING WITH GRIEF
So I listened to the first voicemail, saying I needed to call home ASAP. I can remember thinking Ok, it’s NOT a big deal! Nothing is Wrong! I had myself convinced of that until I heard the next voicemail. It was from my Son, Mark. Mom, you need to call Becky. They found Tyler passed away this morning! Mom, Becky is devastated!
Not Enough Time and COPING WITH LOSS AND COPING WITH GRIEF
TYLER IS GONE! TYLER IS DEAD! I was like NO he’s NOT! He’s a happy, healthy, boy! We were just there! He’s ONLY 4 1/2 months old! That’s NOT enough time! I can remember thinking, surely I didn’t hear the message correctly. So I listened again, and again, and again. It didn’t change!
About that time Mark called again, Mom did you get my message? I couldn’t speak! I couldn’t think! MY BABY IS GONE! NOOOOOOOOO!!! It’s NOT supposed to happen this way!!! You should leave this world FIRST!! NOT your Child!!!
Loss of a Grandchild: How I Responded to God
To say that I was mad at God is an understatement. So I screamed Heaven! How could you? Why did you give him to us, and snatch him away? We didn’t have enough time! How dare you! I don’t want you in my life EVER again! Do you hear me? That was my attitude.
I’m ashamed to admit it to you, but it’s the truth. He can’t be gone, but then I remembered how I felt in Kentucky when I had the wave of sadness overtake me. It made sense now. I truly believe that God was warning me what was about to take place. Even then, when I walked away from him.
COPING WITH LOSS and GRIEF
Next came trying to call Mike at work. I was a complete MESS! He answered cheerfully like always, but as soon as I said Mike, or tried to, he knew something was off. I started crying so hard with Mike trying to get out of me what was wrong when I finally got out the words He’s Gone! He’s Dead! Mike was like who are you talking about Hunny? I said Tyler, HE’S GONE!
How Do you help grieving grandparents?
To say we were a mess is putting it mildly. We were on the phone with one another, listening to the other one shed tears of heartache. I can NOT begin to imagine, what my daughter went through on that day, and still goes through.
It’s hard for us. but it has to be 100x more for her. I try my best NOT to bring him up around her because I don’t want to cause her, any unnecessary pain. I know everyone deals with death and grief differently. For some, it’s out of sight, out of mind, kinda way. Not me.
keep memories alive while coping with grief
I need to be surrounded by his memory with photos out and talk about him. Most importantly, Tyler’s life may have been short but he was here! His life meant SOMETHING! I want to honor him.
Gone but never forgotten
It has taken me a long time, to be able to talk about him, without tears running down my face, and mourning his loss. As a result, I still have days where the pain of losing him feels as if it happened yesterday.
It also took me a long time, to stop being mad at God and blaming him due to his loss. You wanna know the thing I cling to now is? I WILL SEE TYLER AGAIN! For now, God is looking after him. I can NOT wait to see him again one day soon. Furthermore, Tyler is still impacting lives, mine the most and he’s never forgotten.
Never forgotten: the eternal promise of being reunited with the loss of a child
I want you to know if you’re born again loved ones have left this world, if you are a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, you will see your loved ones again too. That gives me comfort. Doesn’t it give you comfort also?
I have Tyler’s photo in my lab bay at work and I get countless patients talking about him and asking me what happened. By their reactions, they are blessed by his story and it opens a door to talk about Christ to those who don’t know him as their personal savior.
I have another grandson now, who is eight years old, and his name is Gavin. No one can EVER fill Tyler’s place and he’s never forgotten nor far from our memory, but I believe God, has gifted us with Gavin, to fill the void and gaping hole in our hearts. I can NOT thank God enough.
Tips and support for grieving grandparents
While the death of a loved one is hard to process, for grandparents coping with the loss of a grandchild can be even more complex. Grandparents who are grieving the death of a grandchild often take a back seat to the parents and siblings of the child who died.
When it comes to offering empathy and support, grandparents are too focused on “staying strong” for their loved ones to process their own feelings.
A Grandparent’s Grief is Unique
When a grandparent has lost a grandchild, they’re gone but never forgotten. That being said, the grieving grandparents need support too.
According to Dr. Alan Wolfelt, renowned author, educator and grief counselor, when a grandparent experiences the death of a grandchild, they are faced with a unique grieving process, mourning the death on many levels.
Wolfelt explains, “when a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice. They mourn the loss of the child, and they feel the pain of their own child’s suffering.”Dr. Wolfelt
How to help grieving Grandparents with the loss of a child?
Grandparents are in the extraordinary position of playing two roles: that of mourner and protector. Dr. Wolfelt continues, “a parent’s love for a child is perhaps the strongest of all human bonds.
For the parents of the child who died, the pain of grief may seem intolerable. For the grandparents, watching their own child suffer so and feeling powerless to take away the hurt can feel almost as intolerable.”
Grandparents who live at a distance and did not have close or frequent contact with their grandchild might also experience additional feelings of guilt and regret, or mourn the loss of a relationship they never had the opportunity to embrace.
Gone but never forgotten: find Meaning in loss
For people coping with the death of a loved one, the search to find meaning in such a tragedy is a normal and necessary part of the grieving process.
This is no different for grandparents who have lost a grandchild. Dr. Wolfelt explains that grandparents – many of whom have already lived long, rich lives – may struggle with feelings of guilt.
It is not uncommon for grandparents to consider questions such as “why couldn’t it have been me, instead?” or “how could God let this happen?”Dr. Wolfelt
Searching for meaning in the death of a grandchild may naturally lead to more fundamental considerations, including:
- How you will carry on living with this devastating loss in your life
- The meaning and purpose of life
- Your philosophy on life
- Your religious and spiritual values
Talking to a trusted friend or professional – perhaps someone outside of the family unit – will allow you to express your feelings and help to relieve the heavy burden weighing on your heart.
How to Support Someone Who is Coping with the Loss of a Grandchild
Dr. Wolflet suggests considering the following tips when supporting a grandparent who has lost a grandchild they may be gone but never forgotten!
- Avoid cliché’s: Words, particularly clichés, can be extremely painful for a grieving grandparent because they diminish the very real and very painful loss of a unique child.
- Be aware of holidays and other significant days: Visit the grandparent, write a note or simply give them a quick phone call during these times. Your ongoing support will be appreciated and healing.
- Be compassionate: Give the grandparent permission to express their feelings without fear of criticism. Don’t instruct, or set expectations about how they should respond. Never say, “I know how you feel.” You don’t.
- Listen attentively and try to understand. Don’t worry so much about what you will say, rather concentrate on the words that are being shared with you.
- Offer practical help: Preparing food and washing clothes are just a few of the practical ways of showing you care.
Resource: Center for Loss and Life Transition
In Conclusion on Gone But Never Forgotten: Loss of a Grandchild
If you are needing help and want to talk to someone who has been through it, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will do everything I can for you. If you need professional help I recommend The Cope Foundation
Tyler will ALWAYS be cherished, and have a special place in my heart. I have the treasured memories to hold on to. I wanted to share his story with you today, to honor him on his birthday. So for now, I will have to ask God, to give him a hug, and kiss on the cheek for me, until I can do it for myself.
Be Sure to Also Read:
- Does Grief Ever Go Away
- She Still Lives: Bible Verses About Heaven After Death
- When You Think You’ve Been Buried: Bloom Quotes Bring You to Life