Summer is the time of the year when children are out of school and they are enjoying all things fun in the sun. With the summer ahead of our family we were looking forward to reconnecting and spending some well-deserved time together. As some of you may know, I was away from my children for a year so I missed spending time with them the year before. This time, I was ready to spend time with them and make up for some of that lost time.
A few weeks after reconnecting with my children we received the call that no one expected. I was told that their grandmother was in pretty bad shape and that she was expected to pass away in the next week. We attempted to coordinate a plan for them to be able to see her, but unfortunately, she passed away before they could see her. The last memory they had was seeing her in a hospital bed unable to speak.
I knew that this loss was not a complete surprise but, it was also sooner than any of us could expect. Their dad and I took time to break the news to them together and made it clear that we were open to talking with them and answering their questions. My kids are different ages and their abilities to handle grief varied greatly. One child preferred not to discuss it, the other wanted to talk and the other didn't quite understand what happened.
Here is what I did to help my children grieve their grandmother's passing.
Acknowledge their feelings
I made sure to let each of them know that they had a right to feel the way they felt and to also know that grief looks different for every person.
Be kind and loving to each other.
Losing someone you love is not easy for anyone. We encouraged our kids to keep being kind and loving to one another.
Kids love to create. So we used this as an opportunity for them to do some extra arts and craft activities and even developed some new games for them to play as well. This kept their minds off of it and they got to have a lot of fun in the process. If one of them mentioned her we would talk about the good times we had with her.
Looking back at old pictures was a great way for them to remember her and to remember all the fun they had. They took time throughout the week or days to flip through pics of her and ask questions about her.
Be open and honest
We did not want to hide how she was doing. So during the process of her illness, we informed the kids how she was doing so they could be prepared for the times they did speak with her. I think that helped with the process because they were aware. They took all of that into consideration with her passing away as well.
Of course, there is more that was done for them and will continue to be done for them as they go through the motions. I wanted to offer these tips as tools to any parents who may be finding themselves in a similar situation. Although it can be hard, God is still a very good God. I thank God for the strength and strategy to be able to navigate this new territory with my children. I believe that His peace is with them and the rest of the family. That God has all of them on His mind, just as He has you and your family on his mind as well.