I want to share a young girl’s story and experience of when her grandfather was near the end of his life. Hospital visits, staying in a different town surrounded by many family members and observing the reactions of those around her, all helped established a foundation for her final memories of “Grampy”.
You might wonder if it was appropriate for younger children to see someone dying.
This young girl aged six at the time, had the opportunity to be a part of the grieving process and given age appropriate ways to understand what was happening. Teachable moments provided the opportunity for her to ask questions and receive answers.
She would often be at the cottage where most of the other family members were staying while visiting her grandfather. This was like a base camp with many relatives pitching in to help each other. Tears, smiles and sharing family stories were part of this time together at the cottage.
Not wanting to overwhelm the dying individual and being respectful of those family members who wanted their quiet time alone, everyone honoured each other’s grieving process. Being able to share her grief with others helped prevent her from making up her own misconceived notions of what death and dying was all about.
Experiencing the gradual process of “Grampy” dying in the hospital was full of newness. All of the senses were touched; the smells, noises, the feel of a hand no longer the same as it once was and being an observer.
Can you picture her sitting off to the side and watching the adults, listening to what they were saying and when no one was watching sharing a silent moment of eye contact with “Grampy”? I wonder what went through her thoughts.
With deep emotions she composed this song after her “Grampy” died. With permission I share her song with you; “Sometimes I don’t know where I am going, but I want you to come home with me. You hold me tight like a bunny and I don’t know where I am going without you. I am writing this song because I miss you and I’m afraid I’ll forget you sometimes…La la laaaaa. To Silly Grampy, Love ___”.
What would your song sound like? Can you see how her words mirror the words an adult might say or feel? I know for many of you there are times after a death loss when you do not know which way to turn and at the same time really want that person to be with you. Being held or holding someone special often adds an extra sense of security and now it is gone.
How often have you thought or said out loud, “I miss you and I’m afraid”? Perhaps, for some people they might wonder if they will forget their special person over time. For myself, I have never forgotten someone I love dearly.
The next article is about Forgiveness