Author, Collaborative Writer, Editor - Learn More

Snapshots of Dementia: 3 Lessons From Lincoln for Grandma (and any Caregiver)

Snapshots of Dementia: 3 Lessons From Lincoln for Grandma (and any Caregiver)

Tom meets his grandson, 1 month old. Dear Lincoln, You’re too young to read this although I’m sure, as advanced as you already are, it won’t be long before you are reading not only letters but entire books. First of all, I want to wish you a great  big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Grandpa and Grandma love you very much and can’t believe you’re already 3 years old. As soon as you’re old enough (and hopefully no sooner), someone will tell you about the sad things that happened many years ago on this day. I want you to know that your birthday has given 9/11 new meaning for our family. We do remember the sad things, of course, but we also celebrate the wonderful ones—like you. And do you know what? That’s just who you are in our lives. Your joy in the world God has given us has helped change what might otherwise be a sad time into one of wonder and delight. Watching you play and laugh with Grandpa blesses me more than you can possibly know. You love him in a pure and powerful way that amazes, inspires and challenges me every time. He even told me once that he doesn’t have to worry about what he might say or do around you because he knows you love him no matter what. That is a huge gift to us both. I want to share with you three things I have learned from you, Lincoln. And all three of them help me do a better job taking care of Grandpa. 1. COMPASSION: Grandpa coughs a lot, and sometimes he stumbles. And almost every time you’re around when he does one of these things, I hear you say, “You OK, Gwampa?” Your heart of concern helps me not taking even the smallest or most-repeated issues for granted. Lincoln, Grandpa is always more OK whenever he is with you. 2. PRESENCE: You love nothing more than having Grandpa and Grandma come up to your room and play, or sit beside you on the couch or even travel with you on the iPad as you videochat with us. We love the pictures you color, the cards you “sign” and the crafts you make. But even at only three years old, you’ve already taught me: Presence is the very best present of all. 3. CELEBRATION: Grandpa and I still laugh about the day you told us, “I’m so amazing!” I’m glad you have so much wisdom at such a young age. You are amazing, Lincoln, because of an amazing God who loves you even more than we do and made you “in an amazing and wonderful way” (Ps. 139:14a, NCV). We need to...

Read More

A Different Kind of Grandma (Letter to my almost-grandchild)

Dear Grandchild-to-be, What can I say? What can I say to you who have endured pain I can’t begin to imagine and lived a life I can’t possibly understand? What do I say to you for whom we wait? I want to hold you close, to call you my very own grandson or granddaughter. You’re the first one (and firsts are always special). I want to see you taken away from wherever it is you need to leave. I want to promise you safety. I want to say you’ll never hurt again. But I can’t do or promise any of those things. I’m a different kind of grandma, and this is our story. Yours and mine. More than 400,000 children throughout the United States wait in foster care, some of them (for all sorts of reasons) ineligible for adoption. Many have suffered abuse. Many have PTSD or other types of emotional trauma because of the life they’ve endured. Sweet grandchild, you know you’re in this group. But you’re so much more. You’re a person. You’re someone with hopes and dreams and needs and desires. You care about the people in your past—even (and maybe especially) the ones who have hurt you. You don’t know what to expect from the future, but you press toward it anyway. You accept help from many who want to give it and some who don’t. You push against rules even when you know they’re right. You don’t always understand what you do or how you feel. And, deep down inside, you wait. You wait for that moment when you know you’re home. You’re right. I’m not your grandma yet, and you may never choose to call me that anyway. But I can tell you this: you are loved. Your almost-parents have endured paperwork and more paperwork and red tape and training and inspections and lectures and self-doubt and more paperwork and more red tape and awkwardness and questions and paperwork and more paperwork and more red tape, all in pursuit of you. I hear the longing in their voices. They can’t wait to bring you home. They know the road ahead will have plenty of bumps, maybe huge potholes or lengthy detours. But they want to travel it with you. For you, they don’t want to be just one more stop, one more waystation. For you, they want to be Mom and Dad—no matter what the legal system calls them. As your almost-mom, my precious daughter, told me, “Even if we can only have this child at home a few years, at least we’ll give them a family to come home to.” That family is ours. And we’re waiting—   with so much love,...

Read More
css.php