How to help 10 yr old deal with death of grandparent

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Sandra - posted on 11/19/2009

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I am sorry for your loss! When my father passed away it was the worse thing my children experienced. It was suddenly and so there was no time to prepare and say good bye for any of us. I let the kids do what they felt they wanted to in regards to funeral , speeches etc. They went to everything, They were both really close to their grandfather. My oldest said he was his best friend. We are strong christians and so our faith was our strength. It took (still process) a long time for the kids to go through the stages of grief. AND IT WAS TOUGH. MY WORST THING AS MOM> It is added to the fact that you are going thru your own grief, and need to help them through theirs. My youngest (9) was angry and he'd just hit things ((or people) no warning out of the blue . And my oldest (14)just stopped didn't want things to go onand continue without him. It really was bad. I had to get help for both of them. Oldest went to grief councelling (in a children's centre) that used art , games, paint room (covered in plastic to throw paint)a padded room to hit things) It was his time and with his councellor he could act how ever he felt.. It was good because he could say what ever he wanted and he didn't have to feel like it would upset me. It didn't take long but was the best thing I could have done for him. The youngest (9) we ordered books and read them, some were work books to go thru.( children's program that deals with kids with difficulties they gave a list of books) It's been 2 years last week and the healing process continues . But I never let it not be ok to talk about him. We talk about him all the time. I always stopped what we were doing so they could talk about him whenever they wanted. Even with tears invovlved. I wish you strength in the weeks to come. And yes it's a part of life but don't we always try to soften the blow when our children are involved. I know that the kids are doing ok when I hear my oldest talking to his friends when they lose a loved one, and he becomes their support and encourager. He even will tell them he needed councilling. Tough decisions at a tough time but we managed to survive. We can now talk about him with smiles and laughter instead of tears. And realise he's all around us now. You will too in time. Just be kind to yourself and patient, it's one of life's toughest times.♥♥

Ellen - posted on 11/18/2009

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Michelle-I rarely ever have time to get on circle of moms . Today I just happened to see your post. I am a Christian writer and I actually wrote a children's short story on this very subject. The book is called "'Grandma Doesn't Live Here Anymore."It is a great healing tool. I'd love to send you a free copy.Call me Ellen Mongan 478-477-6119.

Jill - posted on 11/18/2009

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We lost my grandma a few months ago and my 9 yr old daughter had a really hard time dealing with it. It was her first experience with death and she had several questions including fears about me dying. So I just answered the questions the best i could explained to her the grandma was still watching over her, she took it upon herself to believe that she could talk to her though the moon roof on our car so every once in awhile she will ask me to open it so she can say hi to her. She asked me question about rather she was hungry or not. You just have to try to explain to them even though it is sad and you miss them they are with who ever you believe in now and safe, not hungry:-), and that most people pass away from old age and that they don't have to worry about mommy or daddy going anywhere. Which I know is not totally honest but if you take the totally honest approach you are going to scare the kids to death and he will never get over it.

Tonya - posted on 11/19/2009

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My 9 year old daughter lost her grandmother, very suddenly in February and her grandfather in August from colon cancer. She doesn't really say a whole lot. Her and my husband are starting to say a little more about it with the holidays approaching. She seems ok. She does not want to go to the cemetary at all. She seems ok being in their house. (We are cleaning it out). I am just going at her pace and talking about them so she knows that it is ok to talk about them. Hope this helps anyone experiencing anything like this.

Jean - posted on 11/18/2009

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I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Past experiences taught me that there is no sure fire immediate help like we would like to have. Just be there for him, put your arms around him and talk. Get him to talk about it- kids all too often keep hold things inside and that's not good. Talk often and don't take for granted when he says "I'm ok mom" especially if the i'm ok mom comes too soon after your loss. God Bless You and Your Family!

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Tracy - posted on 09/27/2012

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I just got a call from my 6 year old daughters step mom,letting me know that her dad passed away Tuesday and she would rather i told my daughter before she goes back to her dads next week.my daughter and her step grandpa were pretty close,she know he has been sick but,doesn't really know about death. I'm so scared about how much its going to hurt her and i really don't know how to explain it to her.we have talked about heaven before but she is so young i just don't know.

Charlisa - posted on 03/28/2012

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im starting to notice that my son's grades r slipping and him having the i dont care attitude, my dad passed away feb 2, please give me some advice

Julie - posted on 11/19/2009

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Quoting Pat:

The poor kid. Man I feel for you. Maybe if you make his birthday a celebration of life - both his and his grandfather's life, and plan a big party next year, and that by celebrating the anniversary, you will keep his memory alive. Your son will always have a part of his grandfather in him (his blood) so will always have part of him with him. What about talking to a pastor/minister or even a grief counselor? Because sometimes even our best intentions might fall short of what your son needs. Good luck. My thoughts and prayers will be with you both.



I love this suggestion! I'd probaby just mention Grandpa though or have a moment in memory of him with family. Have a separate party for him where he invites his friends that doesn't include Grandpa's memory. That way you're still keeping Grandpa's memory alive and your son's not sharing his birthday.

Leanne - posted on 11/19/2009

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This past july on the 27th to be exact my kids lost their "grandpa candy" my dad to cancer, my daughter is still dealing with alot of issues the worst being anger. the best thing i can suggest is let him just go through the feelings and emotions until he feels better , i couldnt imagine it happening on their birthday that would be rough, but kid are rather resilient and bounce back from things it takes us adults years to overcome. so just have some patience and give lots and lots of praise and love and it will all work out!!

Julie - posted on 11/19/2009

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Quoting Pat:

The poor kid. Man I feel for you. Maybe if you make his birthday a celebration of life - both his and his grandfather's life, and plan a big party next year, and that by celebrating the anniversary, you will keep his memory alive. Your son will always have a part of his grandfather in him (his blood) so will always have part of him with him. What about talking to a pastor/minister or even a grief counselor? Because sometimes even our best intentions might fall short of what your son needs. Good luck. My thoughts and prayers will be with you both.



I love this suggestion! I'd probaby just mention Grandpa though or have a moment in memory of him with family. Have a separate party for him where he invites his friends that doesn't include Grandpa's memory. That way you're still keeping Grandpa's memory alive and your son's not sharing his birthday.

Gena - posted on 11/18/2009

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Although you may be tempted to tell him that your loved one isn't dead but sleeping, or that they went on a long trip, it can create confusion and in some cases a fear of going to sleep or travelling. I read a great article about children and loss on the MOTHERING MAGAZINE website and on the Attachment Parenting International site. Good luck, we lost two great grandpas in the last year and although it's been difficult our 6 year old has been introduced to the circle of life and has a grasp of the idea of impermanence, I told her when she is missing Popo or Pop Pop to be sure and appreciate those that she loves and has near her even more. She came up and hugged me last week real hard and I smiled and said, what was that for and she said, Oh, I was just missing Popo.

Deborah - posted on 11/18/2009

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When my son was 10 yrs old he lost his Grandmother also only 8 days after his birthday. I did not let him go to the funeral only to the viewing and to this day he still holds that against me and he is 32 yrs old. He loved his Grandmother dearly, and she had only been a bigger part of his life for 3 yrs as she had lived 2500 miles away but moved closer to us when I think she knew she was sick. She was a young Grandmother of 52 yrs when she passed away. He knew Grandma was at a better place but it still hurts not matter how old you are.

[deleted account]

I feel your pain...not only for you but your child. A few years back my oldest who is almost 11 lost her FAVORITE uncle suddenly on her birthday. I waited to tell her until after her birthday and just let her know that he is one of the angels on our shoulders. Yes every year on her birthday we miss him dearly but I tell her that he passed on her birthday so that we could celebrate his life along with hers. Almost one year later her Aunt past away and now they are angels together and dancing on the clouds. Even though death is so sad and scary you have to make it seem as though it is not. Good luck!!

Laura - posted on 11/18/2009

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My condolences on your loss. I lost my mother last year and my (then) 10 year old was close to her. Her grandma had cancer and we had time to say our goodbyes prior to her death. Listening to your son is probably the best thing you can do right now. Don't be afraid to talk about his grandpa, about his own feelings, and your feelings too.

A little ritual that we do that has been very meaningful to my daughter, my dad and myself is to "invite" my mom to dinner. We actually set up a place at the table, complete with a favorite picture of grandma/mom, and serve her a plate of whatever we are eating. Then we talk about our favorite memories of grandma, mom, wife, etc. We just did this on the anniversary that my mom died. For your son's birthday you might have him invite his grandpa to celebrate his birthday with him and serve a piece of cake to him. Good luck and prayers to you and your family.

Carol - posted on 11/18/2009

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Please let your son know that although you are all mourning the loss of his grandfather, your son is privileged to have a connection with his grandfather and a way of remembering him that no one else in the family will ever have. Let him know that he will always carry part of his grandfather with him (both biologically and in his memories). Have him record or write down as many memories of his grandfather as he can so that he can listen to it (or read it) in the future to help keep him close since sometimes there is a fear of forgetting the grandparent. If you have a picture of the two of them together, frame it and give it to him. My deepest sympathy on your loss.

Latessa - posted on 11/18/2009

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Hi Michelle. My deepest symphathy with your lost. Last year my 8 yr old daughter lost to of her dear friends at school - abou 5 months apart. All you can do is allow him to grief and cry. I had to talk to my daughter alot and we spoke about her friends alot. Sometimes, I just cried with her and it really helps to talk about it and explain why these things happen. I have a 5 yr old son as well and since my daughter lost her friends I constantly talk to both of them about death and what it entails (afterwards). Good luck....listening/time will heal the wounds. Latessa

Sara - posted on 11/18/2009

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First, you have to remind them that death is never anyone's fault. Even if your not religious, you have to know that death is a common thing. Its the end of a cycle. But, Having dealt with almost the same thing, as an adult, its going to be hard to understand how things like tha can happen when your already so happy. And the crash from the high of something like your birthday, well, it can be pretty rough. I just want to say that I am sorry for your loss, and to give that boy a hug from the Martins. Bless you.

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Hi Michele, Losing a loves one is a very hard thing to deal with at any age, my heart goes out to you and your family. I believe that it is important to know and tell the truth about death. I find it very comforting to know that dead loved ones will be reserrected. Here is an article that I have copied and pasted from the website watchtower.org. There are manymore articles like this on the website that may appeal to you;
When a Loved One Dies
How Can You Cope?
In this series:

When a Loved One Dies
Coping With Grief
Related topics:

What Happens at Death?
Is There Life Beyond the Grave?
Coping With Grief
“All his [Jacob’s] sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son.’ So his father wept for him.”—GENESIS 37:35, The Holy Bible—New International Version.


THE patriarch Jacob grieved deeply over the loss of his son. He expected to grieve until the day he died. Like Jacob, you may feel that the pain of losing a loved one is so deep that it will never go away. Does such intense grief necessarily indicate a lack of faith in God? Definitely not!

The Bible portrays Jacob as a man of faith. Along with his grandfather Abraham and his father, Isaac, Jacob is commended for his outstanding faith. (Hebrews 11:8, 9, 13) Why, on one occasion, he even wrestled all night with an angel to get a blessing from God! (Genesis 32:24-30) Evidently, Jacob was a deeply spiritual man. What, then, can we learn from Jacob’s grief? Deep feelings of grief and sorrow when a loved one dies are not incompatible with strong faith in God. Grief is the normal and natural response to the loss of someone we love.

What Is Grief?
Grief can affect us in various ways, but for many the overriding feeling is one of intense emotional pain. Consider the experience of Leonardo, who was 14 years old when his father suddenly died from cardiorespiratory problems. Leonardo will never forget the day his aunt broke the news to him. At first, he refused to believe that it was true. He saw his father’s body at the funeral, but it all seemed strangely unreal. For about six months, Leonardo was unable to cry. Often, he found himself waiting for his father to come home from work. It took about a year before the full impact of the loss sank in. When it did, he felt terribly alone. Ordinary things—such as coming home to an empty house—reminded him of his father’s absence. At such times, he often broke down and cried. How he missed his father!

As Leonardo’s experience well illustrates, grief can be intense. The good news is that recovery is possible. However, it may take some time. Just as a severe physical wound takes time to heal, so it is with bereavement. Recovering from grief may take months, a few years, or even longer. But the acute pain you feel in the beginning will lessen in time, and life will gradually seem less bleak and meaningless.

In the meantime, grief is said to be a necessary part of the healing process and of learning to adapt to the new situation. There is an empty space where before there was a living human. We need to adjust to life without that person. Grief may provide a necessary emotional release. Of course, not everyone grieves in exactly the same way. One thing, though, seems to hold true: Repressing your grief can be harmful mentally, emotionally, and physically. How, then, can you express your grief in healthy ways? The Bible contains some practical advice.

Coping With Grief

Talking about your feelings can bring a measure of relief
Many bereaved ones have found that talking can be a helpful release. Notice, for example, the words of the Bible character Job, who suffered the loss of all ten of his children and endured other tragedies. He said: “My soul certainly feels a loathing toward my life. I will give vent to my concern about myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul!” (Job 1:2, 18, 19; 10:1) Notice that Job needed to “give vent” to his concerns. How would he do so? “I will speak,” he explained.

Paulo, who lost his mother, says: “One of the things that has helped me is to talk about my mother.” So talking about your feelings to a trusted friend can bring a measure of relief. (Proverbs 17:17) After losing her mother, Yone asked her Christian brothers to visit her more often. “Talking helped to ease the pain,” she recalls. You too may find that putting your feelings into words and sharing them with a sympathetic listener will make it easier to deal with them.


Writing can be helpful in expressing grief
Writing can also be a helpful release. Some who find it difficult to talk about their feelings may find it easier to express themselves in writing. Following the death of Saul and Jonathan, the faithful man David wrote a deeply mournful song in which he poured out his sorrow. This emotional dirge eventually became part of the Bible book of Second Samuel.—2 Samuel 1:17-27.


Reading about the resurrection hope can be a real source of comfort
Crying may also serve as an emotional release. “For everything there is an appointed time, even . . . a time to weep,” says the Bible. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) To be sure, the death of someone we love is “a time to weep.” Tears of grief are nothing to be embarrassed about. The Bible contains many examples of faithful men and women who openly expressed their grief by weeping. (Genesis 23:2; 2 Samuel 1:11, 12) Jesus Christ “gave way to tears” when he neared the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus, who had recently died.—John 11:33, 35.

Working through grief takes patience, for you may feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster. Remember that you do not have to be ashamed of your tears. Many faithful individuals have found that shedding tears of grief is a normal and necessary part of the healing process.

Draw Close to God
The Bible tells us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) One of the principal ways to draw close to God is through prayer. Do not underestimate its value! The Bible makes this comforting promise: “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalm 34:18) It also assures us: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22) Think about this. As we noted earlier, many have found it helpful to talk about their feelings with a trusted friend. Would it not be even more helpful to pour out your feelings to the God who promises to comfort our hearts?—2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17.

Paulo, who was mentioned earlier, commented: “When I just couldn’t endure the pain anymore and felt that I could not cope, I would get down on my knees and pray to God. I begged him to help me.” Paulo is convinced that his prayers made a difference. You too may find that in response to your persistent prayers, “the God of all comfort” will give you the courage and the strength to cope.—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; Romans 12:12.


“The God of All Comfort”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.”—2 Corinthians 1:3.

This Bible verse indicates that God can help his faithful servants to endure any problem or challenge that they may face. One way that Jehovah may provide comfort is through a friend or a loved one who shares the same beliefs.

Leonardo, who lost his father, remembers an experience that brought him strength and comfort. He had just arrived home, and when he remembered that no one was there, he began to cry uncontrollably. He went to a nearby park and sat on a bench, where he continued to cry. In the midst of his tears, he pleaded for God’s help. Suddenly, a van stopped nearby, and Leonardo recognized that the driver was one of his Christian brothers. The brother was making deliveries and had taken a wrong turn. His presence was enough to console Leonardo.

On one occasion, a widower was feeling alone and very depressed. He could not stop crying because everything seemed so dark. He beseeched God for help. While he was still praying, the phone rang. It was his granddaughter. He recalls: “Our brief conversation was enough to give me renewed courage. I could not help but feel that her phone call was the answer to a prayer for help.”

The Resurrection Hope
Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” (John 11:25) The Bible teaches that the dead will live again.* While Jesus was on earth, he showed that he is able to resurrect the dead. On one occasion, he resurrected a 12-year-old girl. How did her parents react? They “were beside themselves with great ecstasy.” (Mark 5:42) Under the rule of his Kingdom, the heavenly King Jesus Christ will resurrect untold numbers of people to life here on earth—but under peaceful and righteous conditions. (Acts 24:15; 2 Peter 3:13) Imagine the great ecstasy when the dead come back to life and are reunited with their loved ones!


Jesus promised a resurrection for those who exercise faith in him

Claudete, who lost her son in an airplane crash, put a photo of her son, Renato, on the refrigerator. She often looks at the photo and says to herself, ‘We will meet again, in the resurrection.’ Leonardo pictures his father coming back to life in God’s promised new world. Yes, the resurrection hope is a real source of comfort to them and countless others who have lost loved ones. It can be to you too!


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* For a more detailed discussion of the Bible’s resurrection hope, see chapter 7 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Bringing Comfort to Others
“[God] comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.”—2 Corinthians 1:4.

Many true Christians have experienced firsthand what those words mean. Having received comfort to cope with the loss of a loved one, they find that they are able to give encouragement and comfort to others.

Consider the example of Claudete, who regularly visits others to share her Bible-based beliefs. Before she lost her son, she had been visiting a woman whose son had died from leukemia. The woman enjoyed the visits, but she felt that Claudete would never fully comprehend her pain. However, soon after Claudete’s son died, the woman visited her and told her that she had come to see if Claudete still maintained her faith now that her son had died. Impressed by Claudete’s strong faith, the woman is having a regular Bible study with Claudete and is finding much comfort from God’s Word.

After losing his father, Leonardo decided to learn sign language so that he could share the Bible’s comforting message with deaf individuals. He has found that his efforts to help the deaf have greatly benefited him. He says: “One of the things that has helped me to cope with my grief is my desire to help the deaf to learn about God. I have dedicated a lot of time and energy to helping them. My feelings of sadness turned to joy when I saw my first Bible student get baptized! In reality, for the first time since my father’s death, I felt a deep sense of happiness.”—Acts 20:35.

Ivonne - posted on 11/18/2009

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Michele, so sorry to hear about your loss. Certainly never easy to deal w/death. I'll never forget when I lost my mom, my daughter was only 7. I told her "Grandma is not dead. She is just sleeping." Today, my daughter is 28. Getting married Saturday 11/21. She still remembers the phrase & appreciates the fact that I hugged her when I told her. Michele - I want to share w/you that there are places like "Comfort Zone Camp (CZC)" that provide grieving children a voice, place & a community! This way children learn to heal, grow & lead more fulfilling lives. Camp is free. Please check it out = www.comfortzonecamp.org and if you want to speak to someone directly - please feel free to contact "CZC Headquarters @ 804-377-3430" Good Luck Michele. I hope this helps. If you like, you can email me directly at ivonnediaz2004@optonline.net. God Bless You & Your Family!

Connie - posted on 11/18/2009

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This year we lost Grandpa. it seems most tramatic for my 4 year old. although see seems to have found a little peace with it the hardest part for my husband is that she is still little enough that when she thinks something she says it. it has been 8months and she will bring up his death fairly regularly. talking out loud and in every day situations seems to be her way of coping and understanding...that has been very hard on my husband...who doesnt want to talk about it. it is a slow process...so i give to you the best advise i ever recieved in reference to raising children....Pray Hard! it will get better it just takes lots of time and understanding. good luck and God bless!

Pat - posted on 11/17/2009

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The poor kid. Man I feel for you. Maybe if you make his birthday a celebration of life - both his and his grandfather's life, and plan a big party next year, and that by celebrating the anniversary, you will keep his memory alive. Your son will always have a part of his grandfather in him (his blood) so will always have part of him with him. What about talking to a pastor/minister or even a grief counselor? Because sometimes even our best intentions might fall short of what your son needs. Good luck. My thoughts and prayers will be with you both.

Wanita (Wendy) - posted on 11/17/2009

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Death is never easy to deal with, no matter what your age. Loss is loss and grief takes time to heal. I've been working on a book for my sister-in-laws grandchildren, she was 56 and passed away in July, she left behind 6 grandchildren from 2 to 14 yrs in age. Its a book about their Grandma Cathy, and how she left this world to become queen of the Fairies that live under her Dogwood Tree. There are lots of books out there written to help younger children deal with the loss of a loved one, check your bookstore or the local library, find something he can relate too. And talk, share special memories, help move him through his loss and grief. Good Luck and condolences to you both.

Leigh - posted on 11/17/2009

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We lost our father 3 years ago, and on my nephews birthday, which has meant that every birthday since we acknowlege both the passing of his grandad and another year for J on this earth, in this life time. There are steps to grief. We knew our father was dying from bowel cancer, & in the end it was much better for him to pass as he was no longer the man we knew him to be. We talked alot to all of our kids about what would happen, funeral wise and our father talked to all of us about his life & what we were to do after his passing. Take each day as it comes, cry alot, celebrate the life of your sons grandfather.Encourage your son to talk, draw, sing his emotions. Good thoughts for you at this time Michele.

Michele - posted on 11/17/2009

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My son turned 10 yesterday and then last night his grandfather died. It's not bad enough to loose a grandparent but on your birthday too. He told me it was his worst birthday ever. He's never experienced death before now he's got a double whammy. How do I help him express his grief?

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