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Do you talk to your kids about a grandparent they never met?

(40 Posts)
TryingToStayRational Mon 11-Jun-18 21:50:06

My Dad died 9 years ago and now I’m pregnant. I keep having so many dreams about him lately (crazy hormones no doubt) and it has got me thinking about how I will approach the fact that he’s a big part of who I am but obviously my child won’t know him and won’t have a grandfather on that side. My Mum is still with us but doesn’t have a partner.

I was very close to my Dad and obviously miss him, and although I don’t talk about him all the time I have some photos of him around the house and mention him frequently in context. DP sadly never met him, so he only knows him through me and my family.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has been in the same situation and whether you have any advice about how to explain it to a child. I don’t want to upset them, but at the same time I know at some point they are bound to ask questions. Also I don’t want to shy away from the reality and from talking about the wonderful man that he was. I know what a loving and happy grandparent he would have been and I suppose I feel an urge to convey that somehow.

Any suggestions on approaches that have worked for you (or not worked!) v welcome.

Hassled Mon 11-Jun-18 22:22:22

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I've had so much comfort from seeing little bits of my late parents in my children - there will be a look or a smile or a comment, and it makes me realise they're really not very far away at all.
My DM died when I was quite young so my DC always knew she wasn't around and they just accepted it - it was never really an issue. We've talked about both my parents lots. If that's presented as normal, just a fact. children will accept it.

TryingToStayRational Mon 11-Jun-18 22:34:51

Thanks @Hassled. I hadn’t really thought about that potential positive of having kids. That’s lovely, I’m glad it gives you comfort and your kids have just taken it in their stride like that. Makes total sense smile

Chilver Mon 11-Jun-18 22:40:20

My dad died 10 years before i had my child. I was very close to him. We have photos of him in the house and have always talked about him, just explaining when she was very young that he was 'among the stars'. She talks about him a fair bit, i tell her stories of my childhood with my dad and talk about the things he would love about her. She even has had times when she's cried because she 'misses' him sad

Fettuccinecarbonara Mon 11-Jun-18 22:41:41

My children also remind me of my dad, and my husbands dad, both who have been dead for over 5 years, and never met my youngest.

Their mannerisms, the way they look st you, their interests. It’s so heartwarming!

I do talk about my dad to my youngest, but only occasionally. As he grows and shows an interest, I’ll talk about him more. I remember people “whittering on” about people who had died and I didn’t know, when I was young, and how their conversations didn’t really interest me, as I didn’t know who they were talking about.

I’m sorry for your loss. Pregnancy hormones/tiny baby exhaustion makes your loss seems so raw. Be kind to yourself, your dad would want to know you’re looking out for you xx

FourFriedChickensDryWhiteToast Mon 11-Jun-18 22:43:25

yes I have told the children about their granny and how much she would have loved them.
my DD really reminds me of her sometimes, and DS's English skills would have made her very happy...

caledonianclown Mon 11-Jun-18 22:45:58

My lovely MIL died when DD was only 3 months old so while she did technically meet her and there are photos of them together DD obviously doesn't remember her. She is the absolute spitting image of her though, in personality as well. It's lovely and bittersweet at the same time, I often see DD (now 4) do or say something which I think would have tickled MIL and I am sad that they didn't get to know each other. We do talk about MIL to all DC so they know about that part of their family history too.

welshmist Mon 11-Jun-18 22:48:57

My son is the image of his grandfather who we talk about with great fondness, he is also like him in character. Now my son has two children who look like their great grandpa. It is lovely to see the resemblance.

FrangipaniBlue Mon 11-Jun-18 22:51:11

Yes, my DM passed away 5yrs before DS was born, we have photos of her and we've always talked about her.

In a way it has been a good thing because he seems to be more understanding and accepting of death as a concept, when DHs grandparents both passed away while DS was upset he understood and I think it didn't come as such a shocker to him iyswim?

Racecardriver Mon 11-Jun-18 22:52:35

No. I intend to when they get much older, old enough to ask I suppose. But that is mostly because I have very few good things to say about my mother. It is imperative for c them to know though. I learned a lot from my experiences with her and I don't want them to miss out on that knowledge. I also hope that it will help them understand me a bit better.

NotAnotherNoughtiesTune Mon 11-Jun-18 22:55:26

My Mum often talked about Grandad who died whenI was 2. I thought it was lovely she would say how proud he'd be of us.

Sparklesanddiamomdsforever Mon 11-Jun-18 22:55:45

I sometimes talk about how lovely my dad was to them, they are only 2 and 4 though so it's hard for them to understand

tinytoucan Mon 11-Jun-18 22:57:42

I don’t know if this is helpful, but my paternal grandparents both died before I was born. My dad told us lots of stories about them when I was growing up, and there were pictures of them in the house. I used to love listening to the stories. I think if you talk about him openly it will help your child feel comfortable to ask questions when they are older, and it’s not upsetting because it’s always been something you’ve spoken about.

AJPTaylor Mon 11-Jun-18 23:11:02

yes DD3 due to huge age gap missed out on knowing my Dad. i have pictures of him and talk often of him. for example if we are out and about i will point out things that he would like or music that reminds me of him. i also tell her how much he would have loved her.

peachykeenjellybean1981 Mon 11-Jun-18 23:21:57

My dad died when I was 4. My mum remarried a fantastic man who my 2 daughters call grandad. But both my girls (9 and 5) know all about my dad and say they have 3 grandads

CindyCrawford2 Mon 11-Jun-18 23:25:24

Please tell your baby all about his/her Grandad as they grow up. After all, he is still their Grandad whether he is alive or not. I had the same situation with my son - my darling, wonderful dad passed away shortly before he arrived and my son has grown up being told all about him, his life, funny stories etc to the extent that now, aged 18, he tells me that even though he never met his Grandad, he loves him, feels he really knows him and is sure they would have got on well together - I frequently tell him how much his Grandad would have loved him and would be so proud of him. I have a lovely photo of my dad in my lounge - he was and always will be an important part of our family - even the dog gets told the photo is of his Grandad!!

NoSquirrels Mon 11-Jun-18 23:35:46

Ah, I was thinking about this the other day, from the context of knowing relatives who you didn't really "know", through other people's stories. Have you seen the film Coco? (Get tissues for pregnancy hormonal tears - I cried and I am definitely not pregnant!)

My maternal GF died when I was about 18 months old. But I feel as if I knew him from the stories my mum and my DGM told about him. My mum particularly always talked about him with such love and affection, and passed on his wisdom. I'm now in my 40s, and I am an absolute firm believer in the idea that love never dies.

So please do tell your DC all about your DF. They'll love to hear your family stories, I promise you.


youlemming Tue 12-Jun-18 20:56:27

My partner lost his dad and stepdad within a few months just either side of our DD1 turning 1yr.
My MIL has family pictures around and will often talk to DD about Grandad and she has always just accepted that he's not around for her to see but enjoys hearing about funny stories.
I think it's great to keep family memories alive and for children to know the names and personalities through stories about them.

JontyDoggle37 Tue 12-Jun-18 21:01:06

I tell DS3 about Granddad T and show him pics. It’s very important. I miss him hugely.

Tigger001 Tue 12-Jun-18 21:17:45

So Sorry for your loss they say with time it gets easier or time is a healer, I am yet to see if that is true, but at the moment doesn't feel like that could be true. I lost my mum in March, unexpectedly, and all she ever wanted to be was a Nana. She did get to meet my DS but passed away when he was 7 months old and to say I'm devastated is an understatement. I have loads of photos of her with my DS so they will be shown to him all the time and we will talk about her all the time. When I was clearing out her house, I found little things she had got for his 1st birthday and communion (she was a planner). It would be a shame for the memory of such a wonderful mum and nana not to live on in our hearts and stories to be told x I think it if the influence they had on you was positive, that should be talked about to your children x

zippyswife Tue 12-Jun-18 21:29:57

I talk to dcs a lot about my dad. We had a great relationship and it would be impossible not to talk about him. I have lots of photos on the wall of my dad, great memories that I share with my dcs.

At first I struggled with it and would get upset. But as times gone I really enjoy it. It’s funny my eldest has such similar humour to my dad and my middle one looks so much like him. I know it’s cliched but I feel I still have a part of him through them.

My dads 10th anniversary is coming up and I feel So sad that he never got to meet them but I know how proud he would be of them and it’s been such a great help for my Mum.

liquidrevolution Tue 12-Jun-18 21:34:35

DD has all of her grandparents (apart from my real dad who is not in my life and therefore we dont talk about him, my stepdad is my dad in all but blood). I do talk about my grandparents who are dead though and DD can recognise them in pictures. I think its important to do so.

Incidentally I had the most vivid dreams of conversations about my deceased auntie when I was pregnant and DD is the spit of her.

StillNoClue Tue 12-Jun-18 21:50:01

My grandpa died when my dad was about 18, so about 10 years before I decided to rock up.
Me and my brother always knew that we had a grandpa we never met, we knew he passed away, and that he was dad's dad. We've known this from a young age. There was a photo of him in the house and still is, so we knew what he looked like.
It was explained in an age appropriate way. We don't speak of him often, but we were perfectly aware of who he was when we were kids.

celticmissey Tue 12-Jun-18 21:52:56

My dad died suddenly 6 years before my daughter was born. I have photographs of him in the house and I talk to her about him.Since she was little (she's now 8) she has come to the cemetery with me and helped me put new flowers and ornaments on his grave. There is a lovely photograph of him on his headstone with him smiling. We've told her he is in heaven and he watches over her. She knows he died as he had a poorly heart and asked if she can use a ladder to go and see him. We tell her heaven is too high up but he can see her. She never met my grandparents but she shares my grandmother's birthday which my grandmother would have loved. My dad never got to be a grandad when he was alive but I think it's important to keep loved one's memories alive by talking to children about them .

Gingerninj Tue 12-Jun-18 21:53:15

My dad passed away when i was 11, I tell mine about him quite often. I have a memory box of well basically what I have that reminds of him (photos, some of his things and some things he gave me) and they like to look in there. A couple years ago my oldest asked me how he died, I had never really thought about telling them that since I don't like to think about it but I told her so she wasn't left wondering.

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