Nola’s story - a grandmother’s grief

The death of a grandchild is one of the hardest things a grandparent ever has to face.

Like all of us, grandparents expect that they will love and enjoy their grandchildren, but that the natural order of things is that they will die before their own children – and certainly before their grandchildren.

When a baby or child dies it impacts the whole family. There is rightly a lot of attention on the grieving parents. But for grandparents, the death of a child brings the double whammy of grief – living with their own feelings whilst simultaneously having to witness the torment and intense sorrow of their son or daughter is heart wrenching.

This is Nola’s story about the loss of her precious granddaughter, Maya Louise.

** some readers may find this story upsetting


“My Name is Nola Cormick and I am now 74, married, and have two sons, five grandsons and one granddaughter.

“Tragically my granddaughter Maya Louise was lost to us in 2004. It was so unexpected.

“Maya was the first child for my son and daughter-in-law. It was such a shock and so devastating - it’s hard to put into words.

“I felt utterly lost in my own grief and was at a real loss to be able to help my broken-hearted young ones.

“I was lucky to encounter a social worker at the hospital who put me in touch with Red Nose, and it turned out to be my saviour.

“I don’t really know how I coped in those early months but I know by going to Red Nose’s grandparents’ support group that I was in a place where people understood. This was definitely part of my healing.

“I also had a goal to somehow bring happiness back to my son and daughter-in-law, and this took over my whole being.

“Denise, our support group facilitator, was wonderful. There was no judging, just empathy and understanding.

“When Denise retired, Julie took over as facilitator, and she is following on with this empathy and understanding. I have made lifelong great friends and have been attending the group all these years.

“I feel that the grandparents’ support group should be known by all nurses and social workers in hospitals as I cannot imagine coping without some help.

“I think one thing that I have been able to do for my son and daughter-in-law is to honour Maya’s memory by always making special little things to give them for Maya’s birthday, Christmas and other occasions.

“I remember Maya by writing verse about her and my innermost thoughts, and also writing verse for special occasions. I had never written verse before Maya’s loss. I also have my Maya box which I add to each year.

“One very important thing I feel that sharing my story for others at the group, especially with newly bereaved grandparents, is to give them hope that life can get better.

“The grandparents before me did that for me. We have all joined a club we never thought we would be part of, and I feel my giving back in this way is love for my granddaughter.

For information about Red Nose’s free support groups and bereavement services, call our 24/7 Support Line on 1300 308 307 or visit