A grandchild has died. The loss is almost too much to bear, and impossible to comprehend.
AGAST is an all volunteer organization dedicated to helping grandparents through the trauma, stress and grief after the loss of a grandchild. Here on our website you will find many resources to help you.
If you are a bereaved grandparent and would like to receive our packet of information on dealing with your grief and helping your children and other grandchildren deal with theirs, contact us. We will send you a packet and add you to our mailing list to receive our quarterly newsletter.
For Michael and Ashlee-Joi
The AGAST pin is green and gold with AGAST engraved on it. The tree has roots depicting our poem:
In the tree of life, our roots are forever intertwined with their last breath those we have greatly loved do not say good-bye for love is timeless. Instead they leave us with a solemn promise when they are finally at rest in God, they will continue to be present to us whenever they are called upon. Let us not grieve-beyond letting go—for in the tree of life their roots and ours are forever intertwined.
This can be worn in memory of your grandchild. These pins are $5.00 each.
We also have white t-shirts available with the following on the front:
In the tree of life, our roots are forever intertwined …Let us not grieve-beyond letting go—for in the tree of life their roots and ours are forever intertwined.
These are worn at AGAST events and can also be purchased.
With the death of a grandchild grandparents suffer a double grief. The intense sorrow at the loss of a grandchild is heightened by the pain of watching the grief of their own child. When Margret Free’s daughter Linda lost her child to cot death she grieved not only for her daughter but the loss of a beautiful grandson. The shrill scream of Linda’s twin sister Denise, when she told her the news of Michael’s death still rings through Margret.
Every parent knows when your child suffers. Usually you have the ability to solve the problems and the power to reduce hurt. Margret said “As a parent you try to protect your child from pain to soften the blows, but death of a child is a pain you can’t erase.”
“When Linda was hurt I could always put a sticking plaster on the wound and give her a hug, but I didn’t know what to do for her in this case.
The loss of Michael was one of those seemingly unexplained deaths. He was a healthy happy 5 ½ month old. He had just had his regular health nurse visit, he slept in his own bed, was breast-fed and no one smoked around him. As Margret said, his parents just did everything so right.
However when his mother went to rouse him from his sleep she couldn’t. He had died while asleep.
Linda was living in Sydney, so Margret, Denise and other family members caught the next available plane from Auckland to be with Linda, her partner Neil and their other son Robert (2 years old at the time).
Margret stayed with Linda and her family for a month to do everything she could to ease the trauma. “I don’t really remember much of that time,” said Margret. “As a grandparent I felt I had to be staunch and strong for everyone around me. I’d bought up four children on my own and been able to cope, but I wasn’t coping with Michaels death.” The relief when counsellors told me I could also grieve was welcomed.
I had helped my 89 year old father through his final days with prostate cancer but that was different. I had been able to help him die peacefully at home. With Michael it was awful as he never had the same chance to live. If he had died crossing the road at least there would have been a reason and an opportunity to save him, but you feel so cheated that you never had the chance to prevent it happening.
“People tend to avoid you when grieving. They just don’t know what to say. One friend of 20 years has not been in contact with me since Michael’s death and that hurts” she said.
Even now one year after Michaels’ death, Margret says she has become pretty good at hiding things: “I’m not really coping. I just keep really busy.” Margret uses her job as an investigative accountant to keep her mind occupied and helps other parents who have lost a child to cot death. She is now the parent representative to the Cot Death Association Board for the northern region and speaks at schools on reducing cot death. Margret’s message to other grandparents is that there is support. You don’t have to hide your grief.
You came and gave us something Some happiness some joy A time of understanding A beautiful baby boy You left us very suddenly Someone asked me why I cannot give a reason I cannot even try We loved you very dearly The time we had you here You’ll never be forgotten You’ll always be near
From Alison Dunnill of Whakatane. It is a tribute to her grandson, Bradley