Mothering your child after they’ve lost a child must be one of the hardest jobs. You are grief-stricken from the loss of your grandchild and so broken from witnessing your own child’s heartbreak. But your job is so important.
This is when your superpowers have to come out—muster all the love your heart holds and pour it into your broken child. You need to see them as the baby you birthed, the fragile little being, and hold their heart as carefully and as lovingly as you once did all those years back.
Related: A Grandmother’s Grief
They are changed. Their strength will return one day so don’t fear that, but until then, show up. Mother them in all the ways you know how and maybe research other additional ways. They need you to be their protector.
No one ever stops needing a mother but the needs often change as we mature and evolve with time. Losing a child brings us back to needing our mothers as we once did when we were young. Now, once again, we are so vulnerable: we are fragile; we need to be fed, to be told it will be okay, to be loved fiercely, and to be physically held.
We really need to be completely supported and mothered.
Not all moms are great in times like this. When a mom fails in their role of support after a loss, it really complicates grief. It can highlight all the cracks in the relationship. Being human you probably won’t get it all right, but it is important that your child knows you are trying your best and that all your love is theirs to hold onto.
Grief can break us. In the early days, it is all-encompassing and we need help. Grief-work is exhausting and never-ending. Grief changes as we walk through life; different milestones, events, encounters, and experiences will evoke different emotions, and all that will require the grieving to work through them.
It is in these moments that we need our moms to notice and extend the loving hand.
Emotional support not easy for you? Then bring food, do some yard work, watch the other children, help around the house.
Grab them groceries so they don’t have to bump into everyone at the store before they are ready. Or just go for a quiet walk with them.
Don’t live in town? Go visit, stay in a hotel to give them space, and help with the above.
Send them care packages.
Hire someone to clean their house.
Call and text them regularly even if it is to let them know you love them.
Simply, love your child through this in all the ways you know how. Your baby needs you. Your heart is the place have always called home, so make sure they know they are always invited in.
Just do your best and make all your choices from a place of love. Be gentle with yourself and your child. Your job is tough and so important.
Allyson Williams is a wife and a mother who holds three children in her arms and two in her heart. Her journey to create a family was filled with the highest highs and the lowest of lows. A journey that started with three heart wrenching years of infertility, to the miscarriage of her first son’s twin conceived through IVF and carrying her third son who she knew would die after his birth. This experience has transformed her into a warrior for love and endlessly trying to choose love at every opportunity.