The Life We All Envisioned: Suffering the Loss of a Grandchild
By: Amy Lied
When we lost Asher, we weren’t the only people who felt that loss. I know so many who cried with us and mourned the loss of our son. For many of our friends and family, we were the first people they were close with to experience such a loss and it hit others hard. Now, two years later, so many still remember our boy and reach out to us on the hard days, even Asher’s grandparents.
Our parents take the time to touch base with us; to focus primarily on our grief as Asher’s parents. But what about their grief?
Since having Asher’s little sisters, I have been able to watch our parents be active grandparents to our daughters. I have watched my mother go through my old baby clothes and lovingly bring them for my daughters to model.
I’ve seen my parents get out my old rocking horse and beam with joy as they held each granddaughter on the horsie.
My mother-in-law never visits empty handled. She often comes with little outfits for the girls. She went through Hubby’s old books and brought them for the girls to read. I’ve seen at least one set of grandparents every weekend since the girls were born because they love spending time with their granddaughters.
They dreamed of doing all of these things when they learned of their first grandson’s existence 4 years ago. That opportunity was ripped away from them on February 18, 2017 when Asher’s heart stopped beating.
Living life after losing a child hasn’t just been hard on us. It’s been excruciating on our parents.
Not only did they have to watch their children experience the unimaginable, and be unable to ease our pain, but they also lost their grandson. (For my parents, it was their first grandchild.)
It was a double whammy for our parents.
Two years ago, I saw as they looked at me in the hospital with tears in their eyes, knowing I had to go through the pain of labor only to never hear my child cry. I remember both my father and my father-in-law being very concerned about the physical pain I was experiencing. They couldn’t control the emotional pain I felt, but they wanted to be sure my physical pain was managed. I watched as our parents held their forever sleeping grandson in their arms, memorizing the beautiful face they would never see again. (My biggest regret is that I didn’t force them to take photos with Asher so that these moments were always preserved.) I watched as they tried to hide their emotions from us. As they tried to push their feelings aside to be “strong” for their children.
I watched as the life they had envisioned for all of us was taken away.
Now, I can see the brief flicker of pain on their faces as they smile with joy at the granddaughters in their arms. I can see the pain of the missing little boy in their lives. They try to be strong, but I see it. I see it because I feel it too.
I’ve witnessed them be such hands-on and involved grandparents. Honestly, it simultaneously warms and breaks my heart.
Seeing them with our daughters is a reminder of what we ALL missed out on with Asher. These little girls have brought so much joy and love to all of our lives. They brighten each day with their gummy little smiles, but their existence doesn’t erase the pain that we all feel over the little boy who will forever be missing.
I know our parents miss Asher as much as we do and that their hearts still break for the pain that their children will always feel, no matter how hard they try to hide it from us. I see it and I want them to know I acknowledge it.
About Amy Lied
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother. Her son, Asher, was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. After losing Asher and struggling to conceive again, she went back to treatment where she became pregnant with her twin daughters; Harper and Scarlett.
She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project, an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. Sharing her journey has helped her cope and she hopes it also helps others who are walking on this road of life after loss.
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