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The Day Our Lives Changed

There was a day my life changed as a Grandparent, as a Parent and as an individual. It is a day in history that cannot be changed .... a day that I cannot fix. How can I as a mother or as a grandmother not fix something? I could not fix what was permanent. Death is permanent. Grief and mourning are permanent.

The night of August 28,2022, I witnessed (along with my husband) something that no grandparent should ever witness. Our Grandson, just shy of 15 months old, lay motionless on a stretcher in the trauma room at the local hospital following a tragic accident. His father laying beside him crying inconsolably. We felt shock, despair, anger, disbelief, and quite a few more emotions.

You see, we as grandparents don't cry just once, we cry twice -- once for the loss of our grandchild and then again for the pain being felt by our child. As grandparents, we suffered because of the loss of our beautiful grandson, but we also suffered watching the pain and anguish of our child, our son. We cried for what he was going through then, and we still cry for what he is going through now.

The week after our grandson died was like living in a bad dream. That first night, our son, daughter-in-law and their other 2 children went to my daughter-in-laws parents, as they could not return to their home. I was in shock and denial, I didn't know what I should or shouldn't be doing. We as parents, didn't want to add to their grief so we basically let them know to call if they needed anything.

The funeral for our Little Man was beautiful but I was just functioning, not really thinking during it. I went through the motions, just doing what was needed of me. Our daughter-in-law was admitted to the hospital the day after the funeral and remained there for a month and a half. She was a big worry to the entire family, she was not coping well at all with the loss of her baby. No one is ever prepared for the loss of their child.

For that time, our son had to play both Mom & Dad to his children, he chose to visit his wife daily and to keep the household running with some normalcy for his other children while also trying to grieve the loss of his son. As a family, we did everything in our power to help out with household chores, watching the two kids while he spent time at the hospital with his wife.

As grandparents, we put our needs and feelings on the back burner. I remember not really feeling anything at all early on - my main concern was to help my son and his two kids. They were very quiet, not really understanding all that was happening around them. It took some encouragement to get the kids talking but they seem comforted when they realized that it was ok to talk about their brother. Over time, they have opened up more and we talk about their brother and laugh together and we have even cried together.

We have a total of 5 grandchildren - 4 living and 1 whom gained his wings early in life. Our daughters two children miss their cousin terribly and we encourage them also to talk about their cousin.

Our grandson is buried just down the road from our house behind his Great Grandfather, we will cut hydrangeas from my flower beds and take them down to him when we go on walks or stop at the neighbours and pick up some flowers. They will talk to him, play with toys at grave site and remember the times with him. He is visited by his entire family routinely. Keeping him alive in our memories is very important to our entire family.

Grandma Tammy

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