The ties between grandparents and grandchildren can be binding and even magical. Evidence shows that grandparents are so important they actually increase the chances of a child surviving during the high risk period of infancy and childhood in societies around the world.
And grandparents increasingly are taking on a primary caregiver role. A recent study showed that 60 percent of grandparents provided some care for their grandchildren during a 10-year period. In addition, the 2010 Census reported that 8 percent of grandparents live with their grandchildren, and 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for most of their grandchildren's needs.
And perhaps that's why a poignant comment made this week on a Huffington Post article titled "How Changing The Way You Think About Death Can Transform The Way You Live" caught our eye. Read it for yourself below and let us know what you think. We believe it's a beautiful and perhaps not entirely uncommon sentiment.
My son died last year, two weeks shy of his 29th birthday. My ex-wife and I, both in our sixties, are raising his 4-year-old daughter.
Although I still cry daily and look forward to my twice-weekly cemetery visits, I've remained strong through it all. I embraced his death, I gave his eulogy, I talk of him freely -- I've never asked why. My own faith lets me not fear death. Because of a good support network, I think I can negotiate the pathway to my own death, even if it is hard.
What I find most difficult is filling that gap left between my granddaughter and myself ... that missing life. I now live two lives ... grandfather and father ... all the responsibilities I had before of providing for my own future remain, but now I am also repeating all the tasks I did before when raising my son. So many of my plans were focused on him ... he was my bridge to the future ... I was to pass on my knowledge, memory and possessions ... he was to pass them on to his daughter. I already had 28 years invested doing it ... all wiped out. I'm filling a 28-year-gap ... a missing life ... with spackle ... trying to preserve continuity ... hoping to live long enough and well enough to succeed ... to make it seamless.