Six years have passed since my adult daughter died. During these years my husband and I were their legal guardians and fiscal conservators. The twins, one boy and one girl, were 15 years old when they moved into our home. They graduated from high school, entered college, and are incoming seniors today. Since they are legal adults, they are pretty independent, and do not share all of their plans with us. This is as life should be.

We are the home they come home to, and when I hear one of the twins or both, is headed home I become almost giddy. I can hardly wait to see them and hug them and listen to their stories. Several weeks ago my grandson returned from a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Last week my granddaughter returned from Thailand, where she taught English to high school students. In a few days my granddaughter will come home for the summer.

It takes me a week to adjust my grocery shopping to young appetites. But I adjust to their presence immediately and savor it. Raising my grandkids is how my husband and I honor our deceased daughter’s memory and continue her mission. This is a sacred mission for us and we have given it our best.

Joy surges when our grandkids come home, yet the joy of having them in our lives is with us all the time. Our grandchildren have kept us interested in life and excited about the future. We look forward to their college graduations (only a year away!), seeing them head out into the world, and have families of their own. Life has been really good to us.


Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit

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