Monday, February 14, 2022

Helping A Grieving Grandparent

When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy-hearted into which our grief has given us entrance. And inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy and their understanding.  ~ Helen Keller

A reader writes: Hello, I’m a grandmother watching her 10 yr old granddaughter suffer through osteosarcoma. I’ve denied the terminal diagnosis, hoping she’ll defy the odds. Hoping and praying for a miracle. I talk to the starry heavens every night, begging. I’m forced to watch my daughter suffer with her daughter’s suffering. I’m crushed and absolutely broken. I’m angry. Why the children …

My response: When a grandchild is terminally ill, a grandparent experiences a double dose of anticipatory grief: you fear and feel for not only your very sick grandchild but for your own child as well, as you bear the suffering of both. It is a double grief. I am so sorry!

I hope you know that you are not alone in this journey. Today many resources are available for children with cancer and their families, and I encourage you to explore what may work for you, your daughter and granddaughter. See, for example, Cancer Care for Kids and Child Cancer Resources.

I also can assure you that both the denial and the anger you're experiencing are completely understandable, given the circumstances you describe. It's also natural to be asking Why? ~ and for that I have no answer, except to acknowledge your absolute right to ask the question.

I offer the following list of readings, in hopes that they will give you some understanding and support. Take some time to absorb and digest their content, and return to them as you feel able:

In Grief: Coping with Anger at God

Tips for Coping with Disbelief and Denial in Grief

Why? Why Me? Searching for Answers in Grief

Anticipatory Grief and Mourning

Anticipatory Grief and Mourning: Suggested Resources

Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving  

The Grief of Grandparents  

The Grief of Grandparents  

How I wish that I had a magic wand that would give you the miracle you're praying for. I hope it helps to know that I am here to hurt with you and to walk with you as you find your way through this difficult and challenging time. 

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here.

Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

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