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How to help him deal with her death

In September of 2009, my DH's grandmother passed away. She had been in good health until August of that year, when she was diagnosed with cancer. The disease moved quickly and she was gone within a month. My almost 12 year old son, who has autism, adored his Grammy and she adored him. Grammy was my son's step great grandmother, and he only met her when he was 5, but she was one of the most supportive people in his life for those 5 years.
When she passed, we read him a book on death, we had his therapist talk to him, we talked to him and he seemed ok. When we went to visit my DH's parents for the first time after her death (she lived with them), he asked where Grammy was and we reminded him that she was in Heaven and he seemed ok with that.
We have visited several times and he has not asked about Grammy again. We thought things were ok. Until yesterday.
My in laws have tons of photos along a very long hallway. Yesterday, my son was looking at those photos and he suddenly smacked one. When I looked to see what photo he smacked, I realized that it was one of Grammy. I asked him why he did that and he said "Because I hate Grammy!" I asked him why and he said "Because she left. I miss her". I told him that Grammy will always be in his heart and that she is in Heaven watching over him. It broke my heart that he felt this way. He can be a tough one to read and doesn't always express his emotions well, but I can usually tell what's up. This one came totally out of no where for me.
Anyone have any ideas on how I can help him more with this? If he responds like this again, does anyone have any suggestions to try?

Answer Question

Asked by layh41407 at 10:59 AM on Mar. 13, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 36 (79,415 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • His Autism is a part of it. My son is 17 with high functioning Autism and anger is a normal thing for them since it is difficult for them to sometimes deal with hurt, anger, loss etc. Just keep doing what you are doing and maybe continue with the therapist. In time he will come to terms with it.

    Answer by gemgem at 11:02 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Oh and it might be normal, one of the stages of grief is anger isnt it?

    Answer by gemgem at 11:02 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • Have you read Freddy the Leaf to him? It's a children's book that describes death.

    Answer by TiffanieK at 11:02 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

  • I had read another book to him, but I will try that one.

    And yes, anger is a stage of grief. I guess I was just surprised that this happened after so much time. I'm trying to understand his reaction as his paternal (my ex husband) grandparents are in poor health and we might be going through this again soon.

    Comment by layh41407 (original poster) at 11:33 AM on Mar. 13, 2011

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