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To all grandparents, from a recently bereaved granddaughter

(41 Posts)
Berley Thu 04-Feb-16 20:09:04

Good evening all,

My apologies firstly as my post probably belongs in the Bereavement section of the forum, but I do have a question that is all in honesty tearing me up inside.

My Grandma passed away last week suddenly and unexpectedly. As difficult as it is to say it was in some ways a blessing, as for the past few years she had been suffering from dementia; which in comparison to her glamorous and proud former self, had left her undignified and with little quality of life. She had also become mute and although she was still physically able and active, I don't know how much she could comprehend.

We were very close in the first 10 years or so of my life. She was in many ways my main carer; she would take me on holiday and I saw her almost everyday. I did see her and my Grandad less regularly during my teens but they were never far away.

In the first couple of years after my Grandad's death, I would go round 2-3 times a week to see her as I was the only local family. But as her dementia progressed, I started to find her difficult to deal with alone and saw her only 1-2 times a week. With her own welfare in mind, it was decided by other members of the family that she should be moved into a care home (100 odd miles from me). Every opportunity I had to go up and see her with another relative I took, and every time I would kiss her goodbye and whisper that I loved her even though - especially later on - I didn't really get any acknowledgement.

Now that she has died, the thing I am finding most difficult to deal with is the thought that she might not have known just how much I loved, thought, cared about and appreciated everything she did for me; either because I didn't explicitly say it or did enough to show it.

So my question really is whether, as grandparents, you know that the strength of the love you have for your grandchildren is reciprocated unconditionally?

Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond.


Jane10 Thu 04-Feb-16 20:22:24

Sorry to hear about your gran. Its a very sad time for you. No easy answer to your question. My suspicion is ,that like people on here , we love our grandchildren very much and can only hope it is reciprocated. So it sounds like it was most likely to be a 2 way thing with your gran. I'm sure she knew deep inside her how much she mattered to you.
I was a bit unusual in that my gran somehow must have known she didn't have long although was completely compos mentis. I had the blessed opportunity to tell her how much I loved her and to thank her for everything. She went to sleep that night and never woke again. Sorry. That doesn't help you much. I just remembered it all over again. flowers

FarNorth Thu 04-Feb-16 20:24:25

My answer is that grandparents' love is unconditional and they don't need it to be reciprocated.
I am quite certain, though, that your grandmother knew how you felt about her and was proud of you making your way in life.

Luckygirl Thu 04-Feb-16 20:26:08

What a lovely thoughtful post Berley - I am so sorry that you have lost your grandmother - it always hurts even when you realise that it is a "blessing."

I worked for many years with people with dementia and I am sure that the hugs that you gave her when you saw her were appreciated. I always found that people whose minds were declining could always appreciate touch.

It sounds as though you both had a very special relationship and that would still have been with her even if she had no way of expressing herself. It would simply have become a part of who she was.

The grandchild/grandparent relationship can be very special - I have a teenage GS who can be a holy terror but he always says "Love you Grandma" when he signs off on the phone - such a precious thing to me.

Your grandma was obviously a very special person for you and I am sure it was reciprocated. I know that it is all very raw at the moment, but please remember that the special relationship you had with her is a true part of who you are and that you are very lucky to have had that. It is something good for you to look back on and to take with you as you got forward in your life.

morethan2 Thu 04-Feb-16 20:28:21

Of course we do. Please don't beat yourself up about it. Grief is hard enough. By the time we become grandparents we have a greater understanding of loving. We understand that our children and grandchildren lives move on and that doesn't mean we're loved any less. It's all part of the circle of life. It sounds as if she had a big influence on your life and you are part of her legacy. This questioning and guilt is also part of the grieving process. One day your memories of her will make you smile. She lives on in you. flowers you sound like a lovely granddaughter. X

Willow500 Thu 04-Feb-16 20:30:21

Hi Berley so sorry for your loss - dementia is such a cruel and devastating illness not just for the sufferer but also their family. Both my parents had it so I speak from experience and your grandma sounds very like my mum who also couldn't talk, hear or even walk in the last 18 months of her life. Two things I can tell you though - my two sons, her grandsons, loved her and my dad very much and they were all very close. They only lived round the corner and spent a lot of time together as they grew up. When my eldest son gave them 2 great granddaughters they loved them just as much and the girls felt the same. In the last year of mums life when I could get no reaction from her if my son and his family visited her face lit up and she obviously recognised them even though she couldn't say their names. I believe my other son put his emigration plans on hold until they had both passed away - he was particularly close to my dad. Rest assured no matter what your grandma could remember at the end she would know how much you loved her. Take care

Regalo Thu 04-Feb-16 20:46:30

Bless you Berley...what a thoughtful and caring post. As others have said, dementia is a cruel illness. I lost my mum and my children's much loved grandma to it so I know how hard it is. Even though my mum lost all her faculties and her body shut down over a period of 10 years, I am convinced that right to the end she knew how much she was loved. I never had grandparents and now that I am a grandma five times over who also has two Angel grandsons, the power of love I have for all my beautiful littlies is so strong. You sound a wonderful grandaughter and your grandma would be so so proud of you. Believe me from all you have done she will know how much you loved and cared for her. Hold onto those beautiful memories and treasure the times you had with your grandma; she will always be so loved, very much missed and with you in your heart forever.
Take care. X x

Penstemmon Thu 04-Feb-16 20:57:15

Sympathy on the loss of your beloved grandma. Of course she knew you loved her. You lost the grandma you shared so many good times with a while back and that is the great sadness of dementia. It is like losing a person twice.
With the passing of time I am sure you will remember the happy days with your grandma, before you lost her to dementia, more readily. You will always miss her but you will be able to smile and feel happiness in remembering her and the times you shared.

Synonymous Thu 04-Feb-16 21:14:30

Berley so sorry for your loss. flowers
You can rest assured that your Grandma certainly knew that you loved her and with all your visits and all the things you shared over your life she would not even need to be told as it would be in your every touch, cuddle and whisperings to her from when you were a tot.
Just remember her when she was able and all the things she did and said and shared with you, the places you went and the things you laughed about together.
As you find your own true love and then have your own family you can share with them about her and all the good times you had. She will live on through you and your children and eventually your own grandchildren to whom you will be as great a treasure as your grandma was to you and undoubtedly as you were to her.
The pain of loss is a grievous thing but we learn so much through it and the biggest thing will be that you are so glad to have known her and that she was your Grandma and that you were very special to each other. smile

Crafting Thu 04-Feb-16 21:35:59

Berley sorry for your loss. What a lucky grandma to be so loved. You sound such a lovely person I am sure your grandma loved you very much and knew how you felt about her. You must have had a very special relationship.

Berley Fri 05-Feb-16 08:50:36

Thank you all so much for your kind words of sympathy.

I'm sorry for my grief-stricken post; the hole that's been left in my heart is just unbearable at the moment and although no one can speak for my Grandma, I suppose I am trying to find solace in the bond other grandparents have with their grandchildren.

The last time I saw her only a few days before her death, she gave me lots of kisses and at one point took my chin in her hand and looked at me - something she's never done before - and even without words I found it so precious.

I think deep down I do know how we felt about each other; I'm just trying to find something to pin my sadness on that feels answerable, rather than it just being because I already miss her.

Once again, my apologies for pouring my heart out here.

ginny Fri 05-Feb-16 08:56:34

So sorry for your loss*Berley*. If my Grandchildren grow to be as thoughtful and loving as you are I will count myself very lucky.

rubylady Fri 05-Feb-16 22:07:51

Berley Your posts made me cry. She knew alright, don't ever doubt that. Take care of yourself love and enjoy the memories you have of your lovely Grandma. flowers

Falconbird Sat 06-Feb-16 07:19:55

Berley flowers

I'm certain your Grandma knew how much you loved her.

Your Grandma would want you to be happy, that's what Grans and Nans want more than anything in the world for their grandchildren, and I have 3.

Grandchildren are so special. It's life going on and hope for the future. it always seem like a miracle to me that not only did I have children, but they had children too and I'm sure your dear Gran felt the same way.

My mother had a dementia and I remember so well the way her face would light up when her grandsons visited her. She lived to be 90 and would say "I'm so glad I saw them grew into men. I feel very lucky."

BearandCardigan Sat 06-Feb-16 09:39:07

I am certain she knew. You had such a wonderful bond and to continue to visit as a teenager showed her how much you loved her. Actions speak louder than words. She knew.

Tingleydancer Sat 06-Feb-16 09:44:31

I am a 'new' Gran but already the love I have for my granddaughter is unconditional. I am hoping I have the same close relationship with her that I had with my own Gran. Please don't feel concern (or even guilt) your Gran didn't know how much you loved her, or that you didn't 'say enough'. She will have known and held you in her heart constantly in the same way that you hold her in yours. She might not be around physically now but she will continue to live in in your heart and mind always.

carpedeum Sat 06-Feb-16 09:48:19

Beautifully put, morethan2, we grandmas Do understand. We been through all the stages and appreciate changes happen. Having said that, the odd hug or call is wonderful.

Tessa101 Sat 06-Feb-16 10:01:50

My thoughts are with you, so sorry you are feeling this way. Totally agree with morethan2 comments it is part of the grieving process. I went through exactly the same as you are going through when I lost both my parents.Its natural to think/ feel you could have done or said more. You had a special bond and she would have treasured that till the end. Those feelings will start to fade and you will then grieve for her without the guilty thoughts.

cornergran Sat 06-Feb-16 10:06:50

Berley please don't apologise for expressing your grief. You describe a wonderful, unique and so special relationship and as others have said your grandmother would have felt the love you shared. Be kind to yourself now. flowers

grandmaz Sat 06-Feb-16 11:36:53

Dear Berley, your post brought a lump to my throat. What a lovely person you are - you can rest assured that your Grandma knew - as so many others here have said, as we get older we can see and appreciate so much more than we did when we ourselves were young.

Your Grandma is wonderful and lovely part of you and you of her...nothing changes that. When someone very close, whom we love dearly, dies, we often feel regrets that we may not have done or said as much as we could to demonstrate our love and care. We agonise about things which we perceive as not said, not done. It is quite usual to feel this way....grief has so many different faces. After the long and close relationship that you had with your Grandma, that deep love you felt for one another is woven into a tapestry of both your lives - a warm and loving thread which started when you were born - maybe even before - and that thread isn't broken now... your Grandma may not be here, but that strong, unbreakable thread, still is. She knew for sure, Berley, because you are part of her and she of you, she watched you blossom and grow into the lovely person you are She will have been so proud and happy to know that you were living your life, getting on, doing things. She didn't need you to always be there in person, to know that you adored her. When her mind finally let her down, despite all that pain for all of you, in her heart would have been that unbreakable golden thread which led to you and still does. She knew, don't ever doubt it. Wishing you happier days ahead, with many, many lovely memories to treasure. xxxx

Cath9 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:06:36

Berley, what a wonderful granddaughter you are.

I am sure your grandma realized this up until she died and she will continue to be in your heart with all the wonderful memories you seem to have had with both your grandparents.
I hope my four and half year old granddaughter, that I look after every day from school until her parents return, will think the same when she is older.

Your grandma has had her life so now she would want you to make the most of your life.

x o

oznan Sat 06-Feb-16 12:38:33

Berley,you are a lovely,thoughtful,caring person.I am so sorry to hear of your loss-grandmothers tend to hold a very special place in your heart.
My own gran died 37 years ago,when I was pregnant with my daughter.She had told me that I would have a girl and I was sad that she never got to meet her.We were very close,she lived with us and was always there for me,even during those difficult teenage years.
My gran was physically ill but had no dementia thankfully.Her last words to me were "I've had a hard life but a happy one and I'm ready for my resting place."
She did indeed have a hard life in the valleys of South Wales,brought up in a small mining community.Her husband had dementia for some years and she looked after him within our family,until he died of a stroke,tragically young.I know that she and my grandad loved each other very much.
I now have 3 grandchildren aged 17,15 and 7.Even though the older two are now becoming more independent and I see them less often,I know that they love me.The youngest is still at the age where he loves a cuddle with grandma and I am sure I will miss this as he grows up.But I know he loves me too.
My gran would want me to remember her as the happy,loving person that she was-the good times that we had together,of which there were many.So please remember the good times with your gran,before she had dementia.She will have known how much you loved her.
I'm sure she would want you to have a happy and fulfilling life.You will never forget her,she will always be there in your heart and memories.Be thankful that you had such a wonderful grandmother and when you achieve anything,no matter how small,have a smile to yourself and think "grandma would be so proud."Because she would have been.
Hope you have happier times ahead,best wishes for your future. xx

chrissyh Sat 06-Feb-16 12:46:29

Sorry for your loss, Barley. I'm sure your grandma knew how much you loved her and you have done far more than most grandchildren I know. The thing is, with dementia, if you had gone to see her every day until she died she wouldn't have remembered. I would go to see my mum and she would say to somebody the next day that she hadn't seen me for weeks. You obviously had a lovely, close relationship with her before she had dementia so try to focus on that.

rosie2014 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:47:58

of course your grandmother would always know you loved her. But you lost her for many years to dementia and you did so well to keep in touch. She is out of that terrible illness now and do not forget a part of her lives on in you as you have inherited her goodness. Grief plays tricks and part of grief we always ask could I have done more? with the passage of time you will realize that you had a close bond that both of you gained from. Those raw emotional feelings will pass and you look after yourself that is what every grandmother would want xxxxxx

Bez1989 Sat 06-Feb-16 14:02:31

Berly. I am so sorry for your loss and I know how that feels. Grief shows itself to us in a few stages and Im sure that you can find some help on the internet. It may help you to understand your feelings as they change. It does no harm to cry and talk about your feelings or even to write them down. Please look after yourself and keep in touch with us all here.flowersflowers