Creative Child

Dealing With Loss

by Deborah Song

My kids’ great grandmother passed away at the age of 97 last month. Though her memory was sparse and undependable, the faces of my children were never lost on her. Great grandma always lit up when she saw my kids, 5 and 3 years old.

“You’re here!” she’d squeal with delight, even if she couldn’t remember their names.

Great grandma was mostly confined to her bed the last few years of her life. She often refused to even sit up and eat. Not even the sharpest diatribe could get her out of bed. But the persistent yet gentle coaxing of my 3-year-old often did. Their impact on great grandma’s life was big; bigger than the impact she had on them, I wrongly assumed.

Even though we visited her every Sunday for as long as my children have been alive, she slept most of the time and her interaction with my kids were not more than five words a week. When we were at her retirement home, a 700-square-foot space with no toys, all my kids ever did was complain that they wanted to go home. But the loss of great grandma had a profound effect on them, especially my 3-year-old, who seemed to be great grandma’s favorite. She was the baby of the family.

It’s been several weeks since she passed away, and my 3-year-old will sporadically tell me she misses great grandma while grocery shopping with me, doting on her dolls or brushing her teeth. And great grandma is in every single prayer, sometimes she is the only topic of her prayers.

“Dear God, I don’t know where great grandma is, but she’s with you in heaven. Please be with her and make her feel better. Amen.” She’ll pray.

“Mommy, if I want to talk to her, I can talk to her through my heart right?” She has asked.

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