Lessons of Hope from Mt. St. Helens

Wildflowers on the slopes of Mount St. Helens in Washington state

Today on my computer “wall”, which changes every day, a picture of Mt. St. Helens came up. It is a beautiful picture of Recovery. I had the opportunity to visit the site in the mid Eighties, shortly after it re-opened to the public, following its eruption in 1980. As I drove around the mountain that day, I felt like I had landed on another planet. As far as you could see everything appeared gray and desolate. There was just the very beginning of the new plants beginning to emerge through the ash, a sign that new growth and a new landscape was just around the corner. Sure enough, 35 years later the mountainside is full of beautiful flowers and young trees. A magnificent new landscape has emerged!

I believe this picture is a great metaphor of hope for grandparents raising their grandchildren. Many of you, if not most of you, are experiencing an atmosphere of devastation and “grayness” from all of the past and present chaos that fills your environment. There may still be many dark days and periods ahead and we have to be honest about our experience and emotions during these days, and yet, I believe that through our endurance and sacrifice, and hard work, new growth is happening and will develop over the coming days and years. Our grandchildren are benefitting from all that we are offering them, and they can blossom and develop into healthy individuals. My sister, Pat raised her granddaughter, Kylie, for most of her life, without the help of a support group or support system. She endured many days and seasons of challenging circumstances and battles with her own daughter, but she endured and stayed the course. Today, Kylie, her granddaughter is a beautiful young mother and teacher today, and a great role model for the positive new beginnings that can come out of the ash.

And hopefully, one day in the future our grandchildren will say, Thank You, for all that you did and sacrificed!

Grands, hang in there, stay the course, the days of beautiful wildflowers are to come! It is worth it, “they” are worth it!

Sharing the Journey,

Rich (Better known as “Pops”)

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I have been involved in the field of Human Services for 30 plus years. I teach in the field of Human Services for Purdue University Global. Allene is a stay at home "Lolli", after spending many years in the Healthcare field. We have 3 adult children and in May, 2018, we adopted our granddaughter, who is 6 years-old. We have had her since she was 5 months old. At the end of 2019, we moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina, as a part of a plan to downsize and give Allene the chance to retire, and be at home full-time. We are devoted to making a difference in Sebellah's life and also in the lives of other grandparents raising grandchildren.

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