Monday, November 23, 2009

A bittersweet Christmas love story...

My daddy as a little boy and my great~grandma Souders...

Before I even begin this post, tears are welling up in my eyes... for the last four or five years, my sister's family and Jack and I have "adopted" a grandma or grandpa for Christmas... my dear brother~in~law Wes draws the names from a tree at his work, and we "adopt" our grandma or grandpa for the year... these aren't just any grandmas and grandpas... ALL grandmas and grandpas are special, but these are especially so... these dear ladies and gentlemen have been abused by their own families, both physically and mentally, and placed in a protected home run by the State... my heart aches for them... I must tell myself they are okay though... no one will ever hurt them again... they have become each other's "family" and they act as one... and they have come to know this place as their "home" ... which it always will be... the abuse they have endured is to the extent that those who were "once" their family no longer are and they are not allowed to visit... which is fine with me... what they have done to these dear people is unconscionable... Okay Julie Marie, dry your eyes and finish the story... I am waiting for word from my brother~in~law as to whose name I have this year and their little "wish list"... their wants are small... cozy slippers, hand lotion, key chains... a little box of chocolates... last year we had an elderly man who wanted items from one of the local universities here... I had such a wonderful time gathering little treasures for him... I found some fleece at the fabric store and tied him a little blanket with the university's logos on it... one of the times they wanted Big Band music and my sister got them wonderful cd's from the 40's... I am not rich by any means, but I would spend my last dime to make sure my "adopted" grandma or grandpa has a blessed Christmas... we never get to meet these grandmas and grandpas and they never know just who sent them their gifts... I just mark on the tags "from someone who loves you"... Sometimes people have asked me how I can love someone I don't even know... my reply is always the same... "How can you not?"... The happy part of this story is that these dear grandmas and grandpas have the strength and faith to go on living... they love each other, and feel safe once again... Christmas Eve they have a big dinner and a dance and the ladies get all dressed up, and excited... oh how I wish I could see them! I have a beautiful picture that runs though my mind of these beautiful women and their handsome "dates" dining and dancing and anticipating Christmas morning with the excitement of a young child... many of them are in their late 80's and even some in their 90's... When I get the name of my grandma or grandpa and shop for their little "wish lists" I will post about them... we never let anyone go without, if there is a name left on the tree, our family always takes it as well... I have the most wonderful family in the world, and soon I will have a new "adopted" grandma or grandpa to love... Bisous...


Gypsy Brocante said...

Good evening Julie Marie~

I stopped by to take a look at your vintage Christmas items and found this first ... something far more special than ornaments, your post has touched my heart and saddened it ... to think there are people in the world that could abuse the elderly {not mention their own family member} does bring tears to my eyes ... but on the other hand to know there are such caring, warm and generous people in the world as well, like you and your family is a blessing. I wish for the good to out number the bad.

Thank you for sharing your story, I'll be waiting to hear about your grandparent this year!

Oh and yes ... your ornaments ARE beautiful, LOVE the elephant ; )


Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Okay, now I am crying!!! I cannot imagine people can be so cruel to there own family!! That is so heartbreaking! Oh Julie, every day, you amaze me!!! I have never met such a beautiful, loving, giving person as you in my life! Everyone who comes in contact with you is so lucky! You are the kindest hearted person I have ever met!! I love you to pieces. You are a true blessing! The picture you have shown is so beautifu, what a lovely image to have!

Thank you so much for purchasing my bouquets today :) You are the best!! They are so much prettier in person and I am so excited about them :) Thank you for everything Julie!!!
Love you soooo much!

Jane said...

I read every word of your post and began to think about what needs are in my community. Thanks for telling this story. I'm going to see if there is a similar program in my area.
I also came over from the Vintage Christmas Monday party. I was in awe of all of your beautiful vintage ornaments.

Lynn said...

Julie Marie,
What a beautiful touching story. To be able to give these dear people some extra joy at Christmas is wonderful. How blessed you are to be able to take part in this. At work we adopt a family in need, this year there are so many, wish we could do more. But knowing one is giving joy and hope to another is really what Christmas is about. Hearts reaching out to other hearts in love. You are a beautiful person. God Bless.

Sandi said...

This post really touched my heart. Thank you so much for blessing those who are less fortunate than many of us.
Happy and blessed Thanksgiving thoughts to you!!

Marsha (Sassy Mini Dolls) said...

You are a kind and caring person, Julie. The elderly, children and mentally ill are the most vulnerable in our society, as well as animals. I can't wait to see what you get for your "grandparent"!

What a lovely photo of your dad and great-grandmother!!

I hope you have a wonderful evening.


Vicki said...

Hello, Julie Marie,
Such a beautiful post!!! "Thank you" to you, Jack and your entire family for caring for these special grandparents. I know their whole holiday is brightened by knowing people love them and care about them!! Our elderly should be loved and respected and taken care of. I loved the picture of your daddy as a little boy, just precious. Love to you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Vicki

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

Okay sweet friend, we have cried far too much today...where the heck is my Kleenex?!

I can't even imagine that someone would abuse their elderly family member, makes my skin crawl to know that these people exist!

Thank you sweet friend for making a special someone feel special and loved, it warms my heart to know that they will receive a special gift and feel some love!

Your generous heart never ceases to amaze me!

The photo of your dad and great grandmother is so lovely, how special to have this lovely photo!

Love, hugs and Toby kisses,

Rebecca said...

I would expect nothing less from you Ms. Julie. What a big heart you have.

Lots of the people at the Nursing Home where my father now lives are all alone. They have no one at all to love them. Whenever I go and visit my daddy so many of them walk up to me and my hubby and want us to love them, too. You are can you not? Many are neglected, forgotten and tossed aside.

What a blessing it must be for these Grandma's and Grandpa's to be remembered and adored by you.

It isn't important that you know who they are or that they know you...

God know. He's the one that matters.

Love to you~


texasdaisey said...

What a heartbreaking thing. I am so glad there are people to help love them. That is so sweet of your family to adopt them. What an awesome ministry of love.

Donna said...

Julie Marie, I am sitting here sobbing after reading your post. What a wonderful thing for you and your family to do... You are so generous and so kind hearted... you certainly celebrate the true spirit of Christmas.

I just love the sweet photo of your dad and great grandma... Just look at those chubby cheeks of his!

Have fun shopping for your special grandparent this year. I look forward to reading about it... Donna

Theresa @ 612Riverside said...

How could the need for such a home even exist? I came by to see your vintage Christmas and read this post from start to finish, you have touched my heart and made me want to do aomething TODAY! God Bless you and your family for helping make new, beautiful memories for these people. Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Theresa
p.s. I did look at your ornies on your last post and they are wonderful!

My Grama's Soul said...

Good morning - What a beautiful story. Your acts of kindness will inspire all of us to open our hearts to those less fortunate.

Have a blessed holiday season,


Catherine said...

I think we should all do the same with one preson so that there won't be any left over. Thank you for sharing

LBP said...

If you want to see me get riled up, try hurting a child or someone elderly! I will come out swinging!

What a beautiful thing you do for these elderly people! I didn't even know such a place existed (shows how narrow my world is:(

Blessings to you and your family and Happy Thanksgiving.


Bunny, The Paris House said...

Oh dear Julie Marie, My heart is breaking, How can anyone be so cruel. My heart aches but I am so thankful that you are doing something so wonderful to make a difference in the lives of such innocent loving people. We have adopted a very very poor family this Holiday season and I am so thrilled to be able to know those children will wake up Christmas morning with some gifts to open and the mom will now have a gift card to buy food. I just can't imagine the suffering some endure on a daily basis. Everyone needs to work hard to make a difference, if we all look to you as our loving role model, we will all be inspired by your kind loving heart and actions and the world will be a better place
Love and kisses

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Julie, Reading your post through tears,
Oh I love what you do for the grandma's and grandpa's and it is so like you to make sure another has a Christmas. It is so sad, that there are people in this world that forget about the elderly. We are all going to be old one day. I love the story of their Christmas eve party and dance.
You are a blessing to your grandma or grandpa each year, and God is blessing you in return.
Thank you for sharing your giving heart to so many.
You are a gift to us all.
Love the pic too.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Love to you, Celestina Marie

Shabbyfufu said...

That's very sad Julie, and you have the biggest hear of anyone. It certainly always feels good to give, more than to receive....and givers are truly blessed. Love to you for a a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday~xo, Janet

Jeni said...

You do amazingly kind things and I'm happy that we are friends. You spread such love in this world. Wishing you and Jack a wonderful Thanksgiving.

*Ulrike* said...

Julie, that is such a wonderful thing for you, Jack, and your family to do. I have seen so many older people forgotten about which is a shame. They have so many memories that they would like to share. Even if they received a small knick knack or a card through out the year it would make them feel special and make their last days happier. I guess the ones who "forget" their loved ones also seem to "forget" that one day they too will be old.
I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Take Care!

Ana said...

Oh! Julie Marie,
My eyes have tears...I feel for these grandpas and grandmas. I just don't understand how anyone could do such a horrible thing. But God has sent them a wonderful family to care for them and love them...Your wonderful Family!