It is said that grandparents suffer a "double grief"- their own grief of their grandchild's death and the grief they face at watching their own child grieve. The SUDC Foundation offers a multitude of comprehensive services to help you cope with the death of your grandchild at no cost to you.  Please contact us today and let us help. Our community of over 900 families worldwide is ready to support you in any way we can. For more information, view a list of our detailed services here.

Below are some tips from the First Candle/SIDs alliance on handling difficult family dynamics and your grief. 

Grandparents often feel they need to have all the answers, know how to cope best, control the situation and be an example. 

Sometimes, the parent(s) have rejected the advice, offers of support, financial assistance, babysitting, and whatever help they can think of. This can lead to feelings of guilt and anger – however, grief is a highly individualized process. What may be helpful to the grandparent may not work for the parent. If there has been any family conflict between the parent and grandparent, or extended family, in-laws, etc., it can create further barriers throughout the grief process. 

Regardless of the particular dynamics in a family, what we do know is that boundaries are important. 

Do: 

  • Express your genuine concern and caring. 

  • Be available if you can for your children/the parents. 

  • Allow them to express themselves, and be able to sit with their emotions to be there for them. 

  • Remember your grandchild’s anniversary and birthday with the parents. 

  • Give special attention to your grandchild’s brothers and/or sisters. They will need your love and support too. 

Don’t: 

  • Let your feelings of helplessness prevent you from reaching out. 

  • Say you know how they feel unless you have also lost a child yourself. 

  • Say “you should be better by now” – grief has its own timetable and everyone is different. 

  • Change the subject when they talk about their child. 

  • Avoid mentioning your grandchild out of fear. 

  • Make any comments that suggest that the care given their child at home, in the emergency department, etc. was inadequate. 

Families registered with the SUDC Foundation can access more information on grandparent grief in the private access area for registered families section of our website

“For Grandparents... ‘A Double Grief’ .”http://www.ndhealth.gov/Sids/Publications/GrandparentsDoubleGrief.pdf, First Candle/SIDS Alliance,2003.