Losing a parent is always difficult, but presents a special set of challenges when your parent is also a grandparent, i.e. you’ve not only got to cope with your own grief, but help your children learn not only to grieve but about the importance of keeping the memory of a loved one alive even as we heal. Here are some things to try:
1) Talk about your mother often. So many people believe that grieving people don’t want to be “reminded” of their loved ones, when nothing could be further from the truth. You know that your mother is never out of your mind, and you need to let your children know that, too. When you talk about her, you open the door for them to share their memories, and let them know it’s okay.
2) Tell stories that connect your children with your mother. These can be literal, like sharing Grandma’s favorite books or movies. Or, if your mother loved chocolate and so does your youngest, make a note of that and share a story next time your child enthusiastically devours a bag of M&Ms.
3) Connect experiences to your mother. Very often, when people die, we focus on their possessions. And while a keepsake or two is a good idea, converting possessions to memorable experiences is often even more valuable. If grandma left a chest of jewelry, why not take some to a Fort Lauderdale pawn shop, and use the money to take the kids on a vacation to someplace that was meaningful to your mother when she was alive. That gives you even more opportunities for talking and sharing stories, and even creates new memories for your own family.
As the worst of the grief begins to subside, your family will find less pain and more comfort in these memories, and you will have ensured that your children remember your parent and you have kept grandma’s memory alive.