I’m here to chat about grief after the initial loss, because a year after my grandfather’s death my son still cries for him sometimes.
It’s also close to the anniversaries of my most profound losses to date (my son 2012 and Godmother 2013) so my head is very much in that space as well.
The reason I want to chat about grief after the initial loss, is because after a few months people are very ready for you to get over loss. I’ve written about the frustration around people wanting me to “just get over your son’s death already” but truth is I’m not over it, I’m also not over losing my Godmother the year after that.
I would not say that I’m still grieving. I’ve done that part, however, I’m not over the feelings of betrayal and hurt and disappointment (I certainly don’t wallow in it, and I’ve grown through it, but it’s there, the loss of Logan lives on.) I am definitely not over watching my God mother die in front of our eyes. Or over being in NICU staring – through protective glass – at a new born struggling to breath while my family laid her to rest.
So how can I expect my son to be over losing his great-grandfather? The man who he spent so much of his young life with. The man who read to him and played referee when the boys held building/drawing/running competitions. The man who stayed home with him when he didn’t want to brave the outside world. I can see that the loss still stings and I don’t blame him.
But this is grief after the initial loss, this new problem needs new solutions:
The only thing I could think of was giving my son is some control
Death leaves you feeling hopeless and not sure what to do next. Creating memories and keepsakes are a way for me to connect. Since I can’t get my 6-year-old a memorial tattoo we will be doing the following:
Grief after the initial loss – ways to remember a loved one
Put up a picture with your loved one
My grandfather has very few photos of himself, so I was not sure how I was going to go about this. Until I happened to notice that on Google maps there is a picture of him standing in front of our yard, how amazing is that.
Write a letter
Or draw a picture to get your feelings out. I blog, that’s why you people know way more about me than some of your family members. I know the healing power of writing and believe that for a child a picture or letter to the person they are missing can help them feel more connected
Jot down memories
My son is nervous that he will forget my grandfather. It really bothers him so I’ve decided that we need to make a memory box/shadow box something tangible featuring good memories about him
Visit the grave
Not everyone is going to agree with this, but taking flowers or a plant to a loved ones grave is powerful. We take little toys to Logan’s grave from time to time and it helps me
I am not a bereavement expert, if I was I probably would not be able to make myself cry with a few well placed memories or a familiar scent. So if you have tips do share it with me…We are here to learn from each other and grow…