Abstract: The impact on children and adolescents of the death of a grandparent has been little researched, and may be under-estimated. In the western world, grandparents are increasingly likely to be involved in their grandchildren’s care, whether for economic, practical or family reasons. Their death may therefore have a profound effect. It may also be the child’s first experience in life of the loss of someone significant. This article starts with a short review and discussion of the literature before going on to publish a report based on an interview with Kaey, who lost his much-loved grandmother in adolescence, and the impact on him of her death.
Kaey (now aged 19) lost his grandmother Sammie in 2007, when he was 15 years old. I interviewed him in 2009. Kaey’s story was first published in Dutch, in 2010, in a collection of young people’s personal experiences of bereavement, ‘Verder zonder jou’ [Continuing without you], written by me. Publisher: VBK Media. For the book, each young person was asked to provide some words of advice to other young people facing the death of someone important to them. They were also invited to choose a piece of writing for the book. Kaey chose lines from the Vera Lynn wartime song ‘We’ll meet again’ – one of his grandma’s favourites.