Nancy: The Silent Warrior Nurturing Three Grandchildren, Supported by Catholic Charities Kinship

For over a decade, Nancy has been attending the kinship caregiver support group at Catholic Charities, a resource she clings to and calls a lifesaver. Nancy is raising her three grandchildren, all of whom are on the autism spectrum.

When Nancy’s grandchildren unexpectedly lost their father when they were four, six and ten, Nancy was already an active family member to the children, giving them a sense of security as they navigated life as a single caretaking household. After the death of her husband, the children’s mother asked Nancy to help her raise the children. They later would all live under the same roof to best suit their needs.

As expected, there were many challenging days for Nancy and her family. Navigating tailored care for each child to meet sensory needs and addressing their grief continues to be difficult. To find all possible resources for the three boys, Nancy found the Kinship program at Catholic Charities, a ministry that supports caregivers who are relatives, friends and neighbors.

The support group meets monthly for caregivers to share their triumphs and tribulations, offer advice and understanding, as they all face uncharted territory together. For Nancy and dozens of other caregivers, it is a sanctuary where they can unload worries and fears, knowing they are among those who truly understand.

In addition to support groups, the Kinship group also gathers for social outings including trips to the movies, roller skating and talent shows as reprieves from their daily duties. One year they went with kinship to the White Fence Farm in Lakewood for Thanksgiving. “It was so special for the kids because we wouldn’t have been able to afford to go or to have a big Thanksgiving meal that year,” said Nancy.

The oldest of her grandchildren, Dominic, now 23, remembers that he always had gifts under the Christmas tree. The family has been “adopted” by Catholic Charities Adopt-A-Family every year since that very first Christmas without their dad, over ten years ago

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