A Letter to My Grandson About His Dad

Phyllis Hensel Smith

A Letter to my Grandson, Elliot, age 8

Dear Elliot, I am sending this box for you to save special things about your dad. I also have a box that I am using for remembering things about him, since he is also my son, Ken. My Memory Box for Ken helps me a lot while I am grieving. Grieving is a normal thing that everybody has to work through to come out feeling good again. It's sort of like those computer games where you have to go through a series of challenges in order to come out the other side successfully. There are no shortcuts. But we will win.

One of the things I do is to save little clippings from magazines that he would have liked, especially jokes. I have a little box inside the bigger box for smaller things....maybe a ring, or whatever. You could have a piece of clothing, like a tie, a hat, or a handkerchief to fold and place in a plastic bag. You could draw a picture or cut out a cartoon or some photos for your dad. These are just a few ideas. You can probably think of some better ones to suggest to me. I'm just sharing what I do to help you get started. You might even write your dad notes and place them in an envelope that says, "Notes". Maybe you can keep the box up on your closet shelf, or under your bed. It will be private but easy for you to get to it.

Sometimes, when I cry, I wipe my tears with tissue; then I put the tissue into a little plastic "baggie" to save some of the tears that fell for my boy. Mothers have feelings, too, you know. In fact, it is okay for anybody... boys, girls, men, and women ... to have these feelings and to cry. Crying is one of the healthy ways humans can use to feel better. There are other ways, and I'm sure you will find them. Do what's best for you. Use your own imagination.

Sometimes, you can put your arms around your Mom and tell her she can go ahead and cry. It will really help her a lot. Maybe if you cry together, it will help you both to heal up your hurt some more. It does really hurt. You are not alone, though. There are other children who have lost a parent, and they are feeling like you do. Someday, after a long time, the hurt won't be so bad. We will always remember your dad, but we will be happy again --- at least most of the time.

Sometimes I feel angry about the whole thing. I'm not angry at anybody, ...just angry! When I feel that way, I can take a pillow and pound on it with my fists (like a drum) and pound as hard as I want. I'm careful to do this in my room, alone, or some other private place, because someone might think I am a loony, or it might even scare them. I don't really care what anybody thinks, though, because I am normal and human, and grieving is tough.

Grieving can make you feel so tired sometimes, and it can make you forget things. It's hard to concentrate, and it makes you cranky. You go up and down, but you just have to go through it, not around it. After just the right amount of time (the amount that is right for you), you will come out the other side. Then you will be stronger and happier than ever before.

With love,

Ahmiss, Your Grandmother

P.S. Just think, someday when you grow up, you may have a son, and then you can show him the Memory Box and tell him about his Grandfather, Ken.

(Copyrighted. May be reprinted without permission if not for profit and if credit is given to author with name at the top.)

Phyllis Hensel Smith

You can send email to Phyllis Hensel at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 03-25-96
date of post 08-09-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW