I have not been back to these pages for six months. It’s been a hard time for me, grieving for David, making the transition to living alone for the first time in my life, and at the same time working against a tight deadline for the forthcoming fourth edition of my first book, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING.
I know I’m not through the hard times yet. As friends have told me, “You get through it – but you never get over it.” But I do feel the need and the readiness to come back and share some of my thoughts about grandparents and grandchildren – and some of my thoughts and experiences about this new chapter in my life, a chapter I didn’t choose to open but now need to make the most of.
I remember the words my friend Norma (who’s been my close friend for more than 60 years and is now a loving grandmother herself) told me some years ago, “There’s no hurt so bad that a grandchild can’t help to heal it.” How right she is! My grandchildren have been such a comfort and such a joy.
Right after David suffered his stroke last October, Anna, 17, and Nina, then 9, came with their mother, my daughter, to stay with me in the hospital for the four days until he died without regaining consciousness. They stayed all day, went in to see their Opa although it was hard for them to see him unable to respond to them, held his hand, talked to him. My eldest grandchild, Stefan, 27, who was in college upstate in Oswego, New York as an exchange student from his university in Germany, flew down immediately and also stayed for days. Meanwhile, Lisa, 13, and Maika, 21, stayed in touch from Germany, conveyed their love for their grandfather and for me, both from a distance and then in person when I went to visit them in February.
My times with the grandchildren – whether it’s been taking a walk and having a talk, going to visit a college, playing a game, cooking together, whatever – have indeed been healing. Part of the healing has come from feeling their love and their compassion. Another part is simply rejoicing in their youth and their vitality and the sense they communicate that life goes on, that life is worth going on with, and that the present and the future hold many joys, despite the inevitable pain that is also a part of existence. I feel very lucky to have these loving young people in my world.
Breaking Free of Overparenting
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