After cremations as part of the cremation services in Bellingham, WA, we have to deal with the grief of death and loss. If the loved one who died was our grandparent, we will experience a unique grieving process in the loss of close family members.
One of the things that make the death – and grieving process – of a grandparent unique is that we are surrounded by immediate and close family members who are also grieving their death in their own ways in terms of their relationship with them.
Our parents – their children – have just lost a parent. That may produce prolonged and intense grieving for them, and it will be different than the grieving that we experience as grandchildren. The relationships are different. Our grandparent had to raise our parents, so they have memories of love, discipline, and growing up with them. We, on the other hand, probably experienced less discipline and more love and fun with our grandparents.
So, what our parents miss and are grieving over is different than what we miss and are grieving over. The key to making sure that everyone’s grief is recognized, validated, and supported, however, is abundant two-way communication.
Sometimes, when people are grieving a major and very personal loss, like the loss of a parent or grandparent, they shut down and isolate themselves emotionally. This is the worst thing that a child who has lost a parent or a grandchild who has lost a grandparent can do. Not only can this create lifelong emotional baggage, but it can leave immediate family members – even in the same household – feeling alone in their grief or feeling that their grief is not normal.
For some of us grandchildren, losing a grandparent can almost feel like losing a parent. If we spent a lot of time with our grandparent, or if our grandparent raised us, then we will experience their death just as we would the death of a parent.
Losing a grandparent may make us seek closer relationships with our surviving grandparents. This may be the spouse of the grandparent who died or our other parent’s mother and father. If there are no surviving grandparents, we may seek closer relationships with friends of the family who are near the same age as our grandparent who died.
Another common experience with losing a grandparent is regret. If the grandparent lived somewhere else or, as we got older, we visited them less often, we may experience regret about their death. If we didn’t listen to their stories closely enough or we didn’t ask them enough questions, we may experience regret that we didn’t value the time we had them.
It is not unusual when a grandparent dies to find ourselves suddenly jealous of friends who still have their grandparents, especially if they have very close relationships with them.
No one will ever replace our grandparent. Instead of shutting down, isolating ourselves, wrestling with regrets, and being jealous of other people whose grandparents are still alive, we should take steps to grow from our grief.
We should keep the lines of communication open with our other immediate family members. We should cherish – and perhaps write down – the memories we have of our grandparent and the things we enjoyed together. And we should be thankful that our friends still have their grandparents.
If you’d like to learn more about Bellingham cremation services, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Bayview Chapel can help. We also serve the areas of Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA. You can come to our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can contact us today at (360) 733-0510.