"I miss grandpa.”
I hear these words multiple times a day from my three year old. She likes to talk about her grandpa. I think it helps her cope better to hear it out loud that he is no longer here. Sometimes she will ask, “Where is grandpa?” I remind her that he is in Heaven, and then she says, “I bet grandpa misses us.” I struggled at first for a response. I didn’t want her thinking grandpa misses us, because that might make her think grandpa is sad. I also didn’t want to tell her that grandpa doesn’t miss us. I worried that response would hurt her feelings. I decided to respond by saying, “Grandpa is too happy in Heaven to miss anybody, because grandpa knows we’ll be there one day too and he’ll see us again then.”
I wish my six year old would talk about it more. Rarely he will say he misses his grandpa. He puts on a good show though. I think the reason he doesn’t talk about it much is because he doesn’t want to make me sad. The kids see me cry, and they ask, “Do you miss grandpa?” I tell them yes. I want them to know it’s ok to be sad, and it’s ok to cry.
Unfortunately Gavin isn’t as open with it as Adeline. I know when he’s having a “bad day” though. He will act out. He’ll get sent to his room for not listening, for picking on his sisters, for throwing things, etc. Having to go to his room will set him off. He will cry and scream and hit and kick. Once he settles down he’ll want me to hold him. At bedtime, he’ll sleep with the plaque that we gave grandpa for Father’s Day. The plaque has pictures of Gavin and his grandpa on it. I’ll go into Gavin’s room to check on him, and he’ll be fast asleep with the plaque in his hand.
I can’t imagine how it must be for a young child to lose someone so close to him. On one day he was fishing with grandpa, playing guitar with him at his house, eating popsicles and playing baseball with grandpa in the yard. Then a few days later he is told that his grandpa is gone. We still go to grandpa’s house to visit with grandma. Gavin knows it’s not the same and he gets emotional when it’s time to go home.
I don’t know what to do most of the time, except let him know mommy is here, and encourage him to talk about it. Most of the time he resorts to being silly, the rest of the time he gets very quiet and in deep thought. I would do anything to be able to take this from them. I wish they could go back to how it was before their little hearts were broken. As much as my heart breaks because my daddy is no longer here, it breaks it even more to know that my children’s hearts are hurting too.
None of us will ever be the same. How can we be? We lost a very important person. One thing I know we’ll all remember is how much love we were shown by an amazing dad/grandpa. We were blessed to have him. I hope that’s one thing my kids will always remember and carry with them the rest of their lives.