Behind every grandchild loss, there is a grandparent whose heart is breaking twice. It breaks once for the grandchild and a second time for the mother or father, the grandparent’s own child.
In addition, I believe the grandparent’s wave of grief often goes unseen in the tsunami of grief of the parents.
Every parent wants their children to be taken care of. We want to help, to fix things, to make everything better. As a grandparent, the desire to help can intensify and even multiply as the number of the offspring we carry in our hearts increases.
My daughter lost two sons at birth and I could do nothing to make it better: for her, for her lost sons, or for my other grandchildren.
How are you supposed to be prepared to take back to the store “coming home from the hospital” baby outfits? Who is ready to plan a funeral when we should be planning a baptism? What do you say to a 4-year-old granddaughter who is sobbing because her little brother is not coming home from the hospital? How do I rejoice with another daughter who is giving birth to a healthy little boy? This shook us to the core of our faith.
There was no preparation for such agony. These were “sacred losses” that made us re-examine our faith. Was our faith as firm in loss as it was in blessing? God is good. He does not change and he didn’t. In his mercy and goodness, did not abandon us. He held us in the shadow of his wings, knowing that nothing “can separate us from His love.” (Romans 8:38)
What we learned from our sorrows as parents equipped us for grandparenting, readying us for those great trials when our hearts are broken twice.
Becky Kebe is the grandmother of 22 who lives in Colombus, OH.
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