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Grandparent Dying: Handling Loss On A Grandparent’s Final Days

My dad is dying and my 17-year-old has been a huge source of comfort. Today she was feeding him applesauce, singing to him, helping to distract him from his pain and holding his hand.

She’s been very strong and calm and that brings peace to everyone around her. When we got home she went on the computer and found pictures of him during healthier and happier times. She selected photos from different stages of my dad’s life with family members. I think she’s making a photomontage. I hope we can show it to him while he’s still alive and conscious.

My Daughter Handling Loss

There is never a good time for a crisis, but this is a particularly tough time for my daughter between finals, activities and high school graduation plans. Yet, it doesn’t stop her from driving a half an hour to her grandpa’s house to bring him some joy.

The first time she saw him after his stroke, she told him that she loved him and he told her in a garbled whisper that he loved her too. He pulled her hand to his mouth and tried to kiss her hand. We all cried.

I’m grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to say goodbye to my dad and thank him for all he has done for us. I’m grateful that he watched my daughter grow up and has witnessed what a wonderful person she has become. And I’m grateful that my daughter grew up knowing and being close to such a fantastic grandfather.

The same holds true for my son, who, in the middle of finals drove home from college to be with Papa Noel. It’s been particularly hard for my son. My son was looking forward to having Papa Noel at his college graduation. Grandpa won’t be going to any more graduations. At least he knew that my son has some good job opportunities as he graduates college.

My dad had the stroke on my son’s birthday. Not surprisingly, the birthday card had already been sent to our house. My son did get the chance to thank my dad for the card and the check we know is inside. But he cannot bring himself to open it.

While we’re in limbo as my father lingers in hospice care, I’m admiring how my kids are dealing with this. Their strength is helping me get through this.

(Note: Valerie’s father passed away shortly after she wrote this blog. The Your Teen staff sends our condolences to Valerie and family)

Valerie Newman

Valerie Newman lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids. When Valerie started mixing up her kid’s college applications with her mother’s nursing home applications, she knew she was part of the sandwich generation.