How do Children Cope when a loved one is hospitalized?

Last week my dad, known as “grandfather” to the little Els, returned home after 6 days in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery. He did amazingly well and is still getting stronger every day.
One of the most surprising and interesting parts of this process was the reaction of the little Els. Bakri, our four year old, in particular, was deeply troubled and concerned the entire time my father was in the hospital. He constantly asked about him and acted out in school and at home. I was suspicious that his ill behavior was related to grandfather’s heart surgery, but I couldn’t be sure…until….we finally were able to visit Grandfather the day after he returned home. Yes, grandfather was weaker than usual. We had to be careful around him and not hug him too tight. But, that little visit made all the difference in the world to our Bakri. The next day he returned to school and had an amazing day and every day since has been wonderful.
I think it is pretty spectacular that our children are so close with their grandparents and love them so much. I don’t know how we can do a better job of keeping the grandchildren in the loop when these things happen. I don’t want them to know too much, but they are so clued in to what is going on. It’s definitely a challenge. Thankfully, my dad wasn’t in the hospital very long. Perhaps we can try skype next time we are desperate for a visit! 🙂
As an added bonus, we had amazing support from some of our favorite family members from Louisiana- Uncle Dale and Aunt Reba. Here are some pictures of their visit at our house.

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