They oftentimes are the forgotten soon after a tragedy, yet bereaved grandparents suffer greatly and forever, too. This post reminds us all that parents are not the only ones affected when a child dies; the loss touches grandparents, siblings, friends, co-workers — our entire world. My thanks to Rene Dillard for being able to put her anguish into words to share with others who walk her path. This is an excerpt from a comment she posted just today regarding the aftermath of the death of her grandson Kaydin:
September 16, 2014 is the date that I lost my precious grandson Kaydin. I was driving home from a job interview and received this strange phone call at about 8:00 pm from a number and person I didn’t know. She said my daughter had been in a car accident. I asked if Kaydin was with her and [she] didn’t say anything for a minute – then she said she really doesn’t know anything. I could hear my daughter in the background yelling and cussing (as she does) and I thought, well she sounds fine so I thanked the lady and finished driving home. About 20 minutes later I get the call from the EMT’s asking how far am I from the hospital; he asked me to head that way, safely. I again asked if my grandson, Kaydin was in the car and he told me “the little guy is in another ambulance and [I really don’t know] his condition.” Kaydin had already died.
I get to the hospital right behind the ambulances carrying my daughter and grandson. I rush into the ER and am told to have a seat someone will be with me shortly. The EMT comes out and asked me some questions, still nobody will tell me the condition of either my daughter or Kaydin. Then they take me to this little room with a couple of volunteers. You are not placed with “babysitters” unless it is bad, but I could not let myself think like that. I just kept telling the lady and gentleman that if my daughter was hurt, than Kaydin really needs me because he will be scared to death. It took [the doctors] 45 minutes to finally come talk to me and they start off telling me about my daughters internal injuries and that they need to complete surgery. I asked about Kaydin, the doctor finally tells me that “he didn’t make it”. That was it, he didn’t make it. My world crashed with those few words….HE DIDN’T MAKE IT.
Now it is almost 1 year later. My life has changed forever. I was out of work for a couple of months to care for my daughter and so I could try to heal….I laugh at that because I don’t think you can heal from this kind of loss. I now go to work every day, I cry every day, I make dumb silly mistakes, I cannot have a rational discussion with co-workers. My employer has been very patient, but I don’t know how long this will last. I take vacation days as fast as I earn them because I need to home. As much as I have tried, I fall way short of being the person I was before HE DIDN’T MAKE IT. I paste a smile on my face and do the best job and can for 8 hours, 5 days a week. When Friday rolls around I am exhausted from trying to pretend I am okay. All I can do on the weekends is sleep. I try to plan some kind of outings to make me get out and get around people. Sometimes I actually follow through and get out, but cannot wait until I can leave and get back to the safety of my home. Other times I don’t make it out, I try but just don’t have energy.
I know I am not alone, there are so many of us that have lost children. But, like me I think a lot of you are putting on that fake smile and trudging through and then hiding in your homes where you can be with your feelings and your child. I talk to Kaydin daily. I just keep praying that each day I put on my make up and do my hair and put the fake smile on that it will get a little easier, the smile comes a little easier, the social commitments become fun again instead of a distraction. But when there is this huge whole / void in your heart, you just cannot think that far ahead, it just seems impossible that you will live life again with the joy that you once did when you had your precious child/grandchild in your life.