I had written a condolence note to a co-worker. One of her Grands--a 3 month old twin--had died suddenly in his mother's arm. There is not much we can say to relieve the unbearable heaviness of such a loss except to say the family is in our thoughts and prayers. I wrote quickly--not caring so much what I said as making sure I sent my sentiments when comfort was most needed.
In her note back to me--a note of thanks for taking the time to think of and pray for her family--she made a comment that mirrored my own thoughts. "As parents and grandparents I know you understand the anguish of our loss. We grieve for ourselves, but even more for our children, [the baby's] parents."
I understand. A few years ago I flew to Boston to be at the hospital bedside of a grandchild who had been hit by a car when out walking with her mother, my daughter. She had a concussion and fractured pelvis, and in those first 24 hours neither our family nor the team of doctors treating her knew had bad the concussion was nor what the long-term repercussions would be.
We were lucky. Two years later, my granddaughter--my daughter's child--is thriving with seemingly no major after-effects from the accident. But I remember the double pain I felt that day--for my granddaughter who at that moment was in unknown danger and for my daughter, who saw her child hit by a car and who had thought--for one dreadful moment--that her child was dead.
My co-worker's note was also, in its way, a reminder that there are, thankfully, two sides to that double feeling. The joys a grandchild brings are also experienced twice--in the wonder of whatever the child did or said that delights us and in the pleasure we see in the faces of the parents--our children.
We double down no matter what.