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From a Grandparent's Point of view ...

by Sandra Campbell

reprinted with permission

From the moment we became parents ourselves, we sought to protect our children from pain and sorrow in life. For the most part, we have been successful, having the ability to solve problems and the power to lessen hurts.

Suddenly, my child is facing a pain far deeper than any other pain in life. I was present at the birth of both of my grandsons and I wanted special relationships with them, but on June 4, 1990 at 6:15 AM, my world changed as I knew it. We lost little Garrett Lee Quail, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, just 2 months and 22 days after watching him be born. I experienced a variety of emotions: helplessness, anger, grief and a lot of frustration, as I needed answers and I needed them now. All I could do was sit by and offer support and watch my daughter learn to live with this loss and pain.

Grandparents are often referred to as the "forgotten grievers", well it's very important that we, as grandparents, step forward and support our children by volunteering just a little time. Only 8 hours a month during RED NOSE DAY, USA would be great. If we had our grandchildren here, we would gladly spend that time with them. I was very angry but as I keep volunteering and getting involved and talking to other SIDS parents and grandparents, I know deep in my heart, Garrett Lee Quail is behind me pushing "Nana come play with me" and with every phone call, I am playing with my Garrett.

I am very blessed to have Gerald Michael. He is 3 now and as he went with me the other day to deliver See's Valentine's Day candies, he said, "Nana, this is for my brother Garrett, huh Nana?" And I smiled and said, "Yes, Gerald, this is for Garrett." You can't bring your grandchild back, but you can help make your child's adjustment to the loss much easier. By grieving with them, you reaffirm that grief is normal and that life will go on.

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