Sunday, October 30, 2011

For Bereaved Grandparents

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series of feelings expressed by the bereaved who belong to Compassionate Friends chapters all over the world. This writing is from a grandmother’s perspective, a completely different view. She is from Missouri. All Compassionate Friends chapters welcome grandparents as well as parents and siblings to their meetings and national conferences..

I am powerlessness. I am helplessness. I am frustration. I sit here with her and cry with her. She cries for her daughter and I cry for mine. I can’t help her. I can’t reach inside and take her broken heart. I must watch her suffer day after day and see her desolate.

I listen to her tell me over and over how she misses Emily, how she wants her back. I can’t bring Emily back for her. I can’t even buy her an even better Emily than she had, like I could buy her an even better toy when she was a child.

I can’t kiss the hurt and make it go away. I can’t even kiss a small part of it away. There’s no Band-Aid large enough to cover her bleeding heart. There was a time I could listen to her talk about a fickle boyfriend and tell her it would be okay, and know in my heart that in two weeks she wouldn’t even think of him. Can I tell her it’ll be okay in two years when I know it will never be okay, that she will carry this pain of “what might have been” in her deepest heart for the rest of her life.

I see this young woman, my child, who was once carefree and fun-loving and bubbling with life, slumped in a chair with her eyes full of agony. Where is my power now? Where is my mother’s bag of tricks that will make it all better?

Why can’t I join in the aloneness of her grief? As tight as my arms wrap around her, I can’t reach that aloneness. Where are the magic words that will give her comfort? What chapter in Dr. Spock tells me how to do this? He has told me everything else I’ve needed to know. Where are the answers? I should have them. I’m her mother.

What can I give her to make her better? A cold wet wash cloth will ease that swelling of her crying eyes, but it won’t stop the reason for her tears. What treat will bring joy back to her? What prize will bring that “happy child” smile back again?

I know that someday she’ll find happiness again, that her life will have meaning again. I can hold out hope for her someday, but what about now? This hour? This day? I can give her my love and prayers and my care and my concern.

I could give her my life. But even that won’t help.

                                                              Margaret Gerner

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