Losing a grandma can be especially devastating to you and your family. When you lose your grandmother, it may feel as if you're losing the anchor that holds your family together. It's not unusual for you to grieve deeply for her.
Here are some ideas to help make things more bearable in the days to come.
1. Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Allow yourself some time to mourn your grandma’s loss. Focus on honoring your grandmother’s life before processing the inevitable changes to your family structure.
Consider your grandmother’s long life and her well-lived life.
2. Tell Others How You Feel
Talk to those around you. Your parents may give you some helpful insight into how they have dealt with the death of a grandparent and can give you a different perspective on how to cope.
They can talk to you about what to expect in the grief process, how to best deal with losing your grandmother, and how things will change now that she’s gone. They may even be able to recommend some books on grief for you to read. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions as you cope with your grandmother’s death.
3. Ask for a Memento
Your grandma is sure to have a lifetime of memories stored throughout her home. Volunteer to help clean out her home with other family members so you can search for these keepsakes. When you discover something meaningful to you, ask the family if you can keep it as a cherished memory of her. Chances are, they'll be happy to get the cleaning help they need and allow you to take the treasures you find.
Be mindful not to take anything without permission, and keep in mind the monetary value of what you’re asking to keep. If it’s a pricey or otherwise treasured item, the best recourse is to offer to pay for the item.
4. Help Plan a Memorial
There are many ways you can honor the life of your grandmother. One way is to plan a special tribute to grandma after the funeral. Ask your family to help you go through the grief rituals customary to your culture or religion so that you can invite others to join you for this special day.
Decide whether you will provide food and refreshments, what music to play, who will host the service, who will speak at it, and the date and time will it take place. Schedule it for a time that celebrates a special day such as her birthday, death anniversary or special holiday that she loved.
Memorials don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. You can host it at your home, church, or even at a favorite restaurant.
5. Find a Favorite Song
If you're having a hard time coping with your grief, consider using music as a form of therapy. There are many songs for grandparents specifically written to honor a lost loved one.
Set some time aside for your very own listening party. You'll know it when you find the one that resonates with you. You can choose to keep it all to yourself or share it with your loved ones as a special way of remembering Grandma.
6. Carry on Her Legacy
When a loved one has lived a long life, she becomes known over the years for having certain traits, characteristics, or special interests.
Your grandma may have been known for baking the best apple pies or expertly roping cattle in her younger days. Whatever it was that made her special and unique can continue through the generations by finding a way to continue her legacy. You can do so by setting up a small scholarship for kids who want to pursue a business degree or sponsor a student in a 4-H club.
Another great way of remembering grandma is by volunteering in her honor. There are plenty of organizations devoted to caring for the elderly that can use your volunteer help. Consider delivering nutritious meals to those unable to leave their homes, volunteering at your local hospital, or teaching a free class to seniors at your local public library.
You don't have to make a formal announcement about why you’re choosing to volunteer. Knowing in your heart and mind that this is your way of keeping your grandmother's memory alive is a reward in itself.
8. Continue the Bond
Many times we think of death as being the end to the relationship and connection we once had with our loved ones. There are ways to continue this loving bond between the two of you, whether you choose to continue special rituals the two of you shared, or by choosing to keep them close to you in other ways.
Here are some examples:
- Take long walks alone so that you can talk to her.
- Put flowers on her grave every season.
- Continue her tradition of baking “never fail” cookies every Christmas.
9. Put Together a Family Tree
A great way to remember a loved one is to put together a family tree that shows not only the position she filled when she was alive, but that also shows where she came from, who her ancestors were, and who came after her.
You can include as many people as you can think of, or you can choose to purchase an online subscription to a genealogy search website to help you. You can also ask the rest of the family to participate and contribute names, dates, photos, and stories to the project as you sit back and watch the family tree grow.
10. Share Photos
If you've never taken the time to sit and look through your grandmother's old photographs, this might be the time to do it.
You can make a party out of it and invite your aunts and cousins over for an evening to remember. Ask everyone to gather at your grandmother's house so that you can go through the photo albums together. You may discover what she looked like as a teenager, who her first love was, who her best friends were, and what kind of things she liked to do for fun.
11. Say a Prayer
Keeping your grandmother's memory alive through prayerful meditation is another way to help you cope with her death. Prayer can help you feel less overwhelmed with grief and sorrow.
Turning to your religion or spiritual beliefs for strength may get you through those days and nights. Turn to comforting scripture about death and dying. It may help ease your sorrow and give you guidance, strength, and encouragement.
12. Spend Extra Time with Family
Another way to help you cope with your grief and sorrow is to spend more time with your loved ones.
Spending time with your parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can help you through this tough time. These are the only people who have the same shared memories from your childhood.
Hold Onto Beautiful Memories
You may feel as if your life is shattered now that your grandma has died. Keep wonderful memories of her for the rest of your life. Share stories about your grandmother with your children, nieces, and nephews.
They may be too young to appreciate certain details of what you remember, but with time, they'll grow to appreciate learning about her life and traditions. Keeping your grandma’s memory alive will help you heal and move on.