I made the choice of letting my daughter that my parents have died. I never wanted to sugarcoat the truth for her especially when she started questioning things. I’m glad I did too because then she knows why I get so sad sometimes. Look I know, a lot of parents say you should hide your feelings from your kids. I never knew how to hide the way grief made me felt, so instead, I made it known to my daughter. She has always comforted me with hugs and reminded me that I have her. The grief never affected her until recently.
My daughter has never cried or felt the pain until the other day when she went Christmas shopping for her father’s gifts. She wanted to pick out a gift for my parents too, but she couldn’t and it hurt. To her friends and classmates, it looked like she was shopping for mommy’s and daddy’s parents, but she wasn’t because my boyfriend’s parents are divorced and remarried. With that being said, my daughter told me when she got on the bus and she cried. Her friend didn’t understand why she was so upset because she got the “normal amount of grandparents” gifts. She then said to her friend, “Daddy has 4 parents. My mommy has none.” She then told me how her friend didn’t know what to say so he just hugged her.
Of course, a 5 year old isn’t going to understand what my daughter is feeling. I doubt her friend even fully understood what she was saying. It’s not a normal conversation 5 years old have with each other. I’m glad her friend did comfort her though because she needed someone.
I remember going to school and feeling the same way. You see, I lost my grandparents young as well. My mom’s parents died when I was 2. My dad’s father died before I was born and his mom died when I was 2. Unlike my daughter, I have memories of my grandparents. She makes me thankful for the memories I do have of them because she has none. I did have adopt grandparents though because this older couple filled in the gaps. They made me forget for a really long time that I didn’t actually have grandparents. It hit me when my childhood best friend’s grandma died. She was really upset about her death on the day while we were in the car with my mom. I mentioned how I understand. She shriek, “No you don’t because you have grandparents.” I took a death breath and said, “No, I don’t. You’re thinking of my adopted grandparents. My actual grandparents died when I was 2 and one before I was ended born.” She didn’t know what to say. I remember crying about it because the pain and reality finally hit me. I was 10 or 11 when this happened.
I think it’s hitting her sooner because she doesn’t have memories to look back on like I did. Like my daughter mentioned to her friend, she has 4 grandparents on my boyfriend’s side because his parents got remarried. I’m so grateful she has them because it does fill in the gaps for her at times.
I never wanted her to understand the pain I grew up with but unfortunately, I can’t change it. Believe me, I wish I could more than anything.
The best thing can do is share the memories I have of my parents and show her the pictures I have of them. If she has questions, I can answer each of them for her.
That’s all I can do.