Angels Among Us - A Grandparent's Perspective
by Eve S. Price
Date: Monday March 8, 2004
This article is dedicated to Grandparents everywhere. It is also about the
grandchildren that we love, and care for, but especially about the special
little ones that we have lost. It is a story of the cycle of life, and its
wonders, its joys, its tragedies and its pain.
I became acutely and suddenly aware of the cycle of life in 1995. In one month,
not only was my first grandchild born, but also in that same month, the last of
my own four grandparents passed away. Within just a few short weeks, I changed
the status of my life from being no one’s granddaughter anymore to suddenly
becoming someone’s grandparent. It was an eye-opening experience, and the idea
of the completion of the circle of life became very real to me. I became
profoundly aware that no longer could I think that I would live forever, as most
young people think. Rather, I realized that I was taking my place in life as it
was intended, and that I was moving to a new place in history now, but a place
that also included newer and brighter experiences.
Grandparents are special people, in that there is no doubt. However, ask any
grandparent who worships and adores their children’s children, and they will
tell you that nothing in this life compares to those grandchildren. When our own
children are born, it is a lifelong challenging and rewarding experience,
undoubtedly. We raise them in steadfast determination to complete the task at
hand, hopefully in a way that represents who we, ourselves, are as people. We
nurture them, love them, discipline them, and hold the honor of being a parent
in the highest regard. When that task is over, we look forward to our twilight
years and to the joy that perhaps only a grandchild can bring. As far as I can
tell, with most grandparents, there is no difference between the love that is
felt for one’s own children, and the love for their grandchildren.
What happens when a life’s cycle is never completed, because a precious
grandchild slips away? How does one cope with the knowledge that at least one
tiny flame of you, reborn in your grandchildren, is extinguished forever?
Recently our five-month-old baby grandson died suddenly in his sleep. The long
5-hour drive to Atlanta, and the following nightmarish days, to remember him,
and then to have to bury him, was the most painful time of my life. One expects
to bury their parents, and perhaps their siblings or spouses. No one ever
expects to have to lie to rest their children, but especially not their
The intensity of such an experience is doubled for grandparents. You watch your
own adult children in sheer horror at the loss of their child, you pray that you
may find a way to relieve their pain, and all the while you grieve for your own
loss of that new and innocent life. You grieve for the memories you will never
make together, the events of that little life that you will never share. You
mourn the moments that will never take place, and you cherish and cry over the
moments you have already been given. You hold those moments close to your heart
and you know that even time will not erase them from your soul. You look at
photographs, you still smell the infant smells on their clothing, and you want
to touch every single thing that they ever touched. You cherish the mementos you
may have, and your kisses on those items mingle with your daily tears.
There is a small comfort and hope. I believe that those who pass away at such
tender ages are very special, tiny angels among us. I believe that their
magnificent presence lingers on, in our hearts, our minds, and our souls. I
believe that their silent whispers and unspoken bonds with us, aids in the
healing process like no other. When a grandparent has asked “why” after at least
a thousand times, somehow the thought of that brief and special journey that is
held between grandparents and grandchildren seems to soothe a bit and seems to
momentarily cover the aching hole that burns in the heart. There are no answers
to such a tragedy, but there is some peace and comfort in knowing that all your
baby ever knew was unconditional love.
I recall my own beautiful grandmother as she lay on her deathbed. She spoke to
me of her grandchildren, of which there were more than 20. She held my hand, as
she told me, “never in your life will you know such joy, as you will, when you
hold in your arms, that third generation of your own blood.” She was right. It
is an experience that compares to no other.
I will bear this current pain, and someday find some healing, for I have held in
my arms, in my children, and then in my grandchildren, the greatest of God’s
Miracles. Through them, I have been privileged to know total satisfaction, and
Grandparents Day is officially September 12th, this year. But on every day, hug
your grandparents; treat them with all the respect and kindness you have. For
you can be certain, in their eyes, you are the greatest person that has ever
walked upon this earth. In this life, very few people will ever love you as
much, or with such devotion.
Rest in peace, my precious Baby Jace. Our hearts are forever with yours.