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Grief of a Grandparent

Written by: Amanda Levison, M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT

Is it different to grieve for a grandparent than it is for a peer or young person? Of course it is. We all know according to the life cycle, it is customary that you bury your parents and grandparents. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Dealing with grief after the death of a grandparent can be heartbreaking.

There is no love like the love from your grandparents. They spoil you, let you stay up late, sugar you up with treats, rarely punish you, and then send you back to your parents. It's a wonderful agreement. When you become a teenager you have a common enemy (your mother!) .

A client once told me that she loved her grandmother more than anyone else (until she had her own child) and when her grandmother died, she felt like she lost a piece of herself. She mourned and cried for months as her beloved grandmother was dying and when she died, she just couldn't function. She knew she had to get herself together and move on.

What can someone do when they mourn the death of an elder?

  1. Although no one wants to hear it, they led a good life, saw their children grow up, saw grandchildren, and possibly even have great grandchildren. Be happy for how much you experienced with them.

  2. Keep their memory alive. Whether it is making a memory book or telling stories about them to others, talk about the person you miss.

  3. Name someone after them. When you love a grandparent so much and then you name your child in his or her memory, you see how important he or she was to you.

  4. Remember and find a way to celebrate your loved ones birthdays, grandparent’s day, and date of his or her death.

It's ok to be sad, and even cry. Just remember that your loved one loved you so much that he or she would not like to see you so sad. Continue his or her legacy by continuing family traditions and customs that he or she instilled in you. You will be okay and the wonderful impact your grandparent had on you, taught you to be the best person/parent/grandparent you can be.

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