February GRG Connections

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Issue 8         Volume 8

Happy Valentine’s Day

An article written by Rachael Monaco for the Buffalo Family Holidays Examiner

Did you know that February is National Heart Month?  No, not because Valentine’s Day is February 14th, but because the American Heart Association wants to raise awareness about heart disease, especially in women.

Here are the facts about heart disease in women:

  • 90% of all women have one or more risk factor for developing heart disease.
  • 82 million adults are estimated to have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. That’s one in three people.
  • On average, 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 39 seconds.
  • More women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women 20 and older, killing about one woman every minute.

Only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their number one killer, and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol.



Managing Stress and Crisis

From Family Treasures by Drs. Nick Stinnett and John DeFrain

  1. Keep things in perspective.  Think of what is and what could be.
  2. Humor yourself.  Laugh at yourself every now and then.
  3. One step at a time.  Strong families focus on one step, one task, one day at a time.
  4. Give Up Worrying.  “Worry has been likened to a rocking chair – You make a lot of motion but don’t go anywhere.  Worry drains energy, keeps us fearful, and interferes with our effective functioning.”
  5. Beware the little bugs.  Strong families agree that unimportant bothers should be recognized for what they are.  If, at all possible, just ignore some of them – the thoughtless action or word, the obvious insult.
  6. Refresh and Restore.  Find time for yourself.
  7. Get Outside.  Exercise.  Get fresh air.  Do some activity.
  8. Minimize fragmentation.  Set priorities and simplify life.  Scratch off activities, clear calendars and learn to say “no.”
  9. Pets.  Take your dog for a walk.  Play with your cat.  Talk to them.  Try and see the world through their eyes.
  10. Something Bigger Than Self.  “. . .but my job as a father is most important.  If I’m a good father to my sons, they’re likely to be good parents, too.  Someday—after I’m gone, and certainly after those work reports have rotted—a grandchild or great-grandchild of mine will have a good father because I was a good father.  It’s kind of a chain reaction.”


A Mother’s Visits to Prison

By MAR – a West Palm Beach Grandmother Raising Her Granddaughter

Such a long journey to the prison.  Way out in no man’s land.  So many questions about how visiting works.  Did I need to bring anything special?

Show ID; know your relatives number better be on the approved list.  Such an ordeal to get assigned a number to enter the first locked door.

Punch in your number in the machine and follow the instructions.  A picture too, so now my son and I both have a picture and a number.

Then a search and a metal detector.  Oh no, you can’t take them inside, take them back to your vehicle.

Start over.

Get scanned again, next time bring a clear see through baggie, good to know, but only some money and your numbers written on plain paper.

Now into the next area, no more than 5 at a time.  This leads to a hall with two doors, this is where you stay until you are frisked and shake your bra so no contraband gets into prison.

Then into the waiting room, where you give your relative’s information and someone calls for them.  Then find a spot at a table and wait, sometimes 40 minutes.

There he is now, only a quick embrace and kiss allowed.  Do not give him any money, but go to the window and order any food or drink from their selection then pay.

There are playing cards to buy but leave them behind to share, if you are lucky a pack may be available next visit.

If you need to use the restroom it is usually locked, must ask for it to be unlocked.  Usually clean.

So many people of every age, whole families, noise level up there.

There is a place to have pictures taken with your relative, a tropical beach scene painted on the wall for the background.  What?  Why?  Denial?  Strange to see them gather for their snapshot, pay at the food booth.

Do not ever give the photographer (inmate) any money.  Pick up at table on your way out.

Don’t wait to the end to leave, a hundred people to process in the reverse takes much time.

How much can one say?  You write and talk on the phone all the time.  At least he looks the same.  But you know he is different now.  Prison does that.

Will this make a difference in his life?  It has changed mine.

A million other places a mother would rather be.



 “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 “Men are disturbed not by things, but the views which they take of them.” – Epictetus


“Disclaimer:  This publication is provided for informational purposes only as a public service.  Palm Beach County (County) does not endorse any company or entity, product or service referenced herein, nor does it assume any liability for the accuracy of the information provided.  The opinions expressed within the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the County’s policy, opinions or view points.  The County presents content as objectively as possible to ensure accuracy of information.  However, the County is not liable to the viewer as a result of any claim, loss, damages or expenses, direct or consequential, suffered by the viewer due to their reliance or use of the information in this newsletter.”




  1. Elaine, He’s about ready to go back again, just out 6 months. His daughter is going to be 16 next month, she deserves to live her life fully without worry about her parents. GRG has certainly helped me give her as much of that as I can, and I know I am not alone, you are correct, the support of the GRG and fellow grandparents makes the difference.

  2. Elaine Williams

    BLOG RESPONSE TO FEBRUARY 2012 GRG CONNECTIONS ARTICLE ENTITLED “A MOTHER’S VISITS TO PRISON” BY MAR. I’ve been there, too. It never, ever crossed my mind that I would be visiting my child in rehab or prison someday while struggling with raising a baby in my late fifties. Ignorance was bliss. Way, way too informed of institutions, jail, addiction, Baker and Marchman Acts, and DCF visits.
    I’m always feeling a mix of emotions: sad, hurt, angry, guilty, resentful, tired, pain both emotionally and physically. One thing I am grateful for is this program and the love and attention that Sue and Lisa show me. They really care and it shows!

    Keep putting one foot in front of the other, MAR. It’s all we can do. One day at a time.

  3. Ianthe Henry

    Keep up the good work .We will live to see these children become productive citizens.
    Thanks Lisa & Sue

    • The thanks really goes to you and all of the other amazing grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. We know you are very proud of your great-grandson.

      Lisa & Sue

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