Talking To The Dead

Something started in our house, a few weeks (months?) ago, and at first I sort of encouraged it, but now I’m starting to grow concerned about it.

A little history – my husband’s dad passed away less than a year before I met hubby. I never got to meet him, so our son certainly didn’t get to. At least, not in this life or on this side. Then my dad passed away when Nick was just 2.5 years old. I was sad for what I had lost, but devastated for what my son was lost. He was now grandfatherless. No little boy should be grandfatherless.

Recently he has started talking about his “grandpa” in reference to the mechanic’s dad. There is a picture of him on our book shelf, and one of Nick and my dad (his “granddad”). He talks about where his grandpa lives, what he and his grandpa have done, often says, “I really miss my grandpa” and the other day he asked me if we could see him, or if he was going to call us. When I said he wasn’t going to call, he got really upset.

I haven’t had a chance to talk to his teacher, but I am guessing that someone at school may do a lot with their grandpa and Nick is taking their stories in and projecting them back into his own stories? Or perhaps he just has a really good imagination? Or maybe they’re talking about families at school?

This past weekend it started to get a bit out of control. It was no longer just a passing comment, but full blown conversations and melt downs over not being able to see his grandpa. He blamed his tantrum at soccer on missing his grandpa. I tried to use it to my advantage, and said, “Well I don’t think your grandpa would have been happy with you having a tantrum, do you?” I am not sure it really worked.

Last night when I got home from work he had apparently been talking for 10 minutes about how he missed his grandpa. Then he said his grandpa was dead, but his grandad was alive. I sat down and told him his granddad was not alive, but that I so wished he was. At this point, I was in tears. How do you explain this to a 5 year old? How do you explain that other kids get to have grandpas who take them to do fun things? I told him he was lucky because he had nanna, and baba, but I am not sure that was much consolation.

I’m seriously to the point of wondering if we need a psych/counsellor to deal with it?

But first, I’m reaching out to my fellow bloggers, my fellow IBOTers, to ask for your input?

Have you been through this? What do we do?

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22 thoughts on “Talking To The Dead

  1. Oh hun that must be so hard, I wonder if someone has said something at school? Seems odd that the subject has come up all of a sudden. It must have been very heart breaking for you to have to explain about his grandad šŸ˜¦ Hugs to you and I hope some IBOT’ers who have been there can offer some advice xx

    • I wish I could remember exactly when it started. I’m sure they’ve talked about families at school. He always tells big stories about things so it probably isn’t that much of a stretch for him to talk about “grandpa” if he’s heard others talk about their grandpas. It just kills me he doesn’t have one. So unfair. šŸ˜¦

  2. Do you have friends or family that can take on the role? I have an elderly neighbour I visit and my wee tot comes along (and the neighbour adores her). I’m not saying to pretend it’s a grandfather, but in the same way fatherless boys often develop a ‘relationship’ with the footy coach or a friends dad. If there’s a lonely man in your street, it may be a win-win situation. Ours started when her brother died, and she’d never lived alone before, so I started doing shopping once a week for her, then we had a Christmas lunch together on Xmas eve, as she didn’t want to do anything on Xmas day.
    My little one now asks when we’re going to visit…it’s nice.
    (you know what, maybe someone at school lives with their grandfather…could be stemming from a completely different kettle of fish – or Grandpa in my pocket or something like that)

    • Oh bugger, I missed the Brisbane one, looks like they started there! Thanks anyway. I chuckled about your little one being on the “dark side” because Nick is obsessed with Boba Fett and Darth Vader…maybe THAT is the problem!? šŸ˜‰

  3. Oh that is so heart breaking. šŸ˜¦ It just isn’t a subject you want to discuss repeatedly as it brings up such sadness. Perhaps a grandfather has been doing parent help at school? You could even take him for a visit to a nursing home, just to take some biccies or something special to some of the residents.

  4. Aw poor boy and poor you, Aroha. I feel for all of you, it is true that no little boy should be grandfatherless. Have you started by talking to his teacher? Maybe other kids *have* been talking all about their grandfathers and he feels left out. It’s also possible he looks at the photos and creates his own “memories” of what they do together? I’m not sure if it would help, but maybe Nick would like to channel his ideas into a little storybook or journal with pictures? Xx #teamIBOT

  5. Gosh Aroha, I’m in tears. Which is very little in offering any advice. Maybe start with his teacher? My grandmother passed away when I was 3, it still feels like yesterday and I miss her like it happened yesterday. I hope you and Nick find some peace soon x

  6. My 3 year old keeps talking about her “grandma” and “grandpa” a lot lately, as if they are real to her. She talks about them taking her places and spending time with her. I’ve been thinking that it might be a sign that we are not spending enough individual one-on-one time with her, but who knows for sure? I hope you find some answers soon – sorry that I couldn’t provide any answers for you x

  7. Maybe it is just a phase they go through? My Dad died two years ago and my kids will never know him either which is sad. They only have one grandparent (my mum). It’s a sad loss between generations but also a reality for some families.

    Perhaps do see a counsellor, or call one, and see if they can offer some insights. Good luck.

    • Thanks Lani. I think it’s becoming reality for more and more families, whether it’s because we are all having kids later in life, or more people are dying earlier, or maybe a combo of both, either way it’s not fair! x

  8. I don’t really have any idea Aroha šŸ˜¦ All my grandparents died by the time I was seven (never knew my grandfathers but neither did my mum or uncle). I remember after Gran’s funeral, I asked to go to the house of an elderly couple from church, which was weird but nice. Almost like I just needed that elderly interaction. If you don’t have anyone to fill that gap, can you look at taking him to an old peoples home and volunteering or something? I’m sure that they would love to have small children visit.

    • I may look into something like that Jess. I don’t know, would feel a bit weird going and picking an old stranger to play grandpa! the idea makes me both giggle and cringe! but you are right, I am sure some of them are so lonely šŸ˜¦

  9. I really don’t know what to say Aroha. My… I had goose bumps all the way while I was reading your post… It most be so hard for him… I grew up without any grand father. One of them passed away while I was about a year old and the other one while I was about ten but he was in Lebanon and we were in Canada so I never really knew him…. Have you tried to ask your son what triggered the fact that his been thinking/talking a lot about his grandpa lately?

    • No, haven’t asked him, but it’s a good idea! Didn’t even think of THAT to be honest! It mostly doesn’t seem to bother him as his stories are usually ones of happiness and excitement, it’s just when he occasionally asks if he can SEE grandpa….that’s the one that’s hard to handle/explain.

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