Goal: Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments
“Poppy Jeff,” as my kids call him, passed away early on Valentines Day. He was a step-grandpa to my children. They loved him dearly and my husband and I so appreciated him and the role he played in their lives. Jeff turned into a kid when he was with my kids. He would spend hours coloring or reading with them. My son loved having someone to be rough and wrestle with and Jeff was more than happy to play along.
It is so very hard to watch my children grieve their loss. As an adult, I understand my emotions and my own grief but I ache for my kids. They have had some nights of crying themselves to sleep and the thought of never seeing Jeff again on this earth makes us all sad.
When we heard the news that Jeff wasn’t doing well in his fight against cancer we then decided to drop everything and get ready for a 2-day drive to Florida. We made it there the evening before he passed. We all got to squeeze his hand and tell him what we loved and appreciated everything about him. I was so proud of my oldest 3 girls who spent time telling him he was a good grandpa and that they really loved him. It was hard to watch as their eyes welled up and spilt over. They had never seen Jeff, or anyone for that matter, in such a frail state before and I believe that they knew it could be the last time they spoke with him.
When the news of his death came the next morning we gathered the kids together and told them. I wanted to emphasize to them that Poppy Jeff was now at peace and no longer in pain. They seemed to have peace at that thought. Throughout the next week, my children talked about their favorite memories of Jeff and how much they will miss him. They also talked about how he is in a better place and they know that they will see him again one day. As a family, we are in this together and we teach our children to talk about their feelings so that we can love and comfort each other. I know from experience that grief takes time. As much as we don’t want anyone to feel sad (especially our children) it is so important to encourage them to let out their emotions and not bottle them up. True healing comes when we allow ourselves to go through the grief and experience it the way God designed it to be. The pain does lessen over time but the missing will always be there. My kids are doing well and every night they pray for Mema who is missing Jeff the most right now.