resources For the Grieving Grandparent
As a grandparent, your grief can feel twofold. You grieve for the life of your precious grandchild, but also for the hurt that you cannot stop for your own child.
BUILD A NETWORK OF SUPPORT. Reach out to tell your story and to hear other stories like yours. There is no one who understands your pain as deeply and fully as someone who has also lived it.
JOURNAL. Speak your deepest truths as a stream of conscious. Be sad, be angry, question, ponder. Don't worry if the words that you write are eloquent, just write from the heart. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
Add your grandchild's name to a memorial list or book. Here are a a few places that you can add your grandchild's name:
Find a special place to talk to your grandchild. A vocal stream of conscious can be just as cathartic as a written one. There is a bench on the side of a lake that I visit often on my hikes. I always stop in this place to talk to Charlotte. Sometimes I just tell her how much I miss her and other times I tell her about all of the things that she has missed. I bring her baby blanket with me in my backpack on these hikes and hold it while I talk to her.
Read what others have written about their grief and the healing process. This will help you begin to form the words to define your own. I found that most religious-heavy texts angered me as I processed my own grief, but I know that they brought comfort to many other mothers. Texts with religious sentiments are marked with an (R) below so that you can distinguish between them and decide what is most comforting to you.
Become a support for other grieving families. Reach out to the newly bereaved to offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Visit a support group meeting or chat room with the purpose of comforting someone else. Donate to a charity that provides mental health resources for bereaved families. Organize a fundraising drive to add a Cuddle Cot to your local hospital. The act of "giving back" as a supporter can be empowering after experiencing the helplessness and humbling quality of being distraught with grief. Another way that you can give back without spending a dime is to participate in research studies regarding stillbirth. These studies help inform future medical and support practices for families who are experiencing stillbirth. ISPID (The International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death) publishes a Stillbirth Research Data Base. I have participated in several studies simply by completing surveys about my experience. 1st Breath, an organization which builds public awareness of stillbirth, does ongoing research through this Baby Loss Survey. (There is a survey for Family & Friends of the bereaved parents that you can contribute to.)