Chapter 5: Your family

Your child’s grandparents

I've been there
Emma explains she couldn't handle anyone's grief but her own.(3:22)Video transcript

It's only now that I can say to my mother, “I know this must be really hard for you. Not only did you lose your grandson, but watching your daughter suffer, you also lost your daughter to her grief.” For a long time, I just couldn’t help her with any of that.

Grandparents may be grieving on several levels. As your parents or the parents of your partner/spouse, they are not only grieving the loss of their grandchild, but they are also likely worried about you. They may struggle with supporting you because they find it difficult to witness your grief. They may feel overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness. You may find it hard to be supportive of them while you are in the midst of your own grief.

One or more of your child’s grandparents may have had a special relationship with them or been a caregiver to them. Others may not have been close or may have had little contact for some reason, such as living far away. Regardless, grandparents often feel a strong sense of injustice that a grandchild has died.

What may help

  • Acknowledge both your own grief and the grief of your child’s grandparents.
  • Let them know what is and isn’t helpful to you, and that you may not be able to offer them much support. Suggest that they reach out to other family members, friends, or a faith leader while you’re grieving, at least for a while.
  • When you are ready, try to open a conversation about how you are all feeling.