I remember well my mother’s reaction to when I miscarried my baby many years ago and thought it was rather strange and was very hurt by it. It was something we never discussed and now a Grandmother myself, I wish we had done when she was alive. My mother’s reaction to me at that time seemed to be one of anger as she yelled a lot at me when I complained of the physical pain I was going through – the miscarriage took some time unfortunately. At the time I just couldn’t cope with the two children I had – not because I didn’t want to or because I stopped loving them, I couldn’t as my body would not let me move to far from my bed. I in turn became angry with her as I couldn’t understand why she was being what I perceived as “cruel”. She was trying to look after my children for me as best she could as they were very young at the time. Eventually I guess I forgave her on some level … but perhaps not.
It wasn’t until I became a Grandma myself that I started to have some insight as to why she acted the way she did. I went through a similar process when I lost two grandchildren to miscarriage at a time when I didn’t know my child’s partner was pregnant and I was not allowed to talk about it with them. I realised at that moment that my mother had been grieving. It had taken me many years to understand the reactions to grief in myself let alone in other people and this had come about through my training and other losses in my life and observing the reaction of others whilst grieving.
The love a Grandparent has for her grandchild is profound and different to the love that she has for her own children. I see it as an extension of something that I have achieved and being repeated into another generation where my only job was really to just love these grandchildren. So to lose a grandchild before even getting to know that grandchild was indeed hurtful and sad. I know I don’t need to feel guilty about my feelings but wonder if my Mother ever dealt with her feelings of grief – I suspect not as it was not the “done” thing in those days for either of us really and that in itself was so sad – compounding what was an already sad situation.
If you are a Grandparent going through the loss of a grandchild, please share with your child if they will listen to you or contact the beautiful people at SANDS and speak to someone there.
Therese Murphy - 2016
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.
Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.
Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.
Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.