Coping with the Loss of a Grandparent - Advice on Learning to Cope

Losing a grandparent is often a significant milestone in a person’s life. The bond between a grandparent and grandchild is a very special one, and it can come as a significant shock when this bond is broken by death.

For many people, the loss of a grandparent will also be their first significant loss. It can be an incredibly scary and lonely time, but there are steps you can take to cope with your loss.

In this guide, we will explore some of the emotions you might feel when you lose a grandparent and how to process these feelings. We’ll also offer some suggestions for managing your grief.

What is it like to lose a grandparent?

This all depends on your relationship with the grandparent, so there is no template for this kind of grief. These are some of the most common emotions individuals feel when saying goodbye to a grandparent:

  • You might feel numb with grief and feel unable to cry. Being unable to cry doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It could simply mean that you haven’t had time to process what has happened. 
  • You might feel acceptance and relief. If your grandparent was sick for a while, there may be some relief to be found in their passing. This relief is often followed by guilt for feeling “ok” too quickly. Remember that there is no template for grief, and no one is keeping score.
  • You might feel regret for not spending more time with your grandparents. Perhaps you still had a lot of questions about their life and now you feel that you have missed your chance.
  • You might feel that the world doesn’t care about your grief. Grieving when those around you are unaffected can feel incredibly lonely. It’s okay to take a step back for a while as you process your emotions.

Accept your grief

Accept your grief

The first step to working through your grief is to accept that you might feel a lot of emotions, and they won’t always make sense. Some days you might feel angry, while other days might leave you feeling drained.

Accepting your grief and allowing yourself the time to heal and move forward is essential. Grief is not something that you should bottle up, ignore, or try to conceal. Give yourself the time you need to properly grieve your loss.

Find a way to say goodbye

Many individuals find that the funeral is not their final goodbye. Working out a way to say goodbye on your own terms is often crucial to finding closure. You might walk somewhere that you liked to walk together, visit a special place, or sit quietly in the garden you used to enjoy together.

Saying goodbye doesn’t always happen on a fixed schedule, and you should feel free to make up the rules about how you take this important step. Saying goodbye is a deeply personal step in the grieving process, and you should do this in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

Talk to a professional

It’s ok to have a lot of complex feelings following the loss of a grandparent. If you find you are struggling with your emotions, it would be sensible to speak to a professional. A counsellor who specialises in grief will be able to help you understand your emotions and put them into perspective. 

Grief can feel overwhelming at times, and it might feel like it will never go away, but this feeling won’t last forever. By speaking to a professional about your feelings, you may also learn some coping mechanisms to help you manage your grief.

Lean on your family

Grief can make you feel isolated, so it’s important to lean on those who are going through the same time. Your family will all be grieving, so lean on them for support, and offer support in return. Sharing stories about your loved one can be incredibly sad, but also very cathartic.

There may also be practical tasks that need to be taken care of. Keeping busy while you are grieving is a great way to keep your mind occupied. You might be able to help sort through their possessions or help to organise the funeral or a memorial.

Take care of yourself

It’s important that you keep moving through grief and don’t stop in the deepest depths. Moving through grief requires you to take good care of yourself and don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by your emotions.

Make sure you are eating three healthy meals per day and drinking plenty of water. You might not feel hungry, but it’s important to stick to three meals a day at least. Light exercise can help to trigger your appetite and also help you to manage your emotions.

Avoid drinking too much or taking any substances that might “numb” the pain. This is a difficult situation to be in and won’t offer any long-term solutions, only short-term distractions.

Create a keepsake for yourself

One of the simplest ways to help yourself cope with your grief is to create a keepsake that you can keep close to hand. Ashes jewellery is a simple and effective way to help individuals cope with their grief.

Only a teaspoon of ashes is needed to create a beautiful piece of jewellery that can be worn every day or for special occasions. For example, if you are upset that your loved one can’t be at your wedding, you could create special cufflinks or earrings to wear on your big day to keep your grandparent close.

Ashes jewellery is incredibly discreet and only you will ever need to know what is contained within the jewellery. It can be a very touching tribute to your grandparent and will allow you to keep them close by when you need them the most.

If you need help choosing the right cremation jewellery to help you to find closure and say goodbye, our team is here to help. We can help you to select the ideal piece of jewellery that will bring you comfort in times of need.