I am a 66 year old woman with deep faith who struggled for many years with a reduced speed of processing information and average delayed recall of audio and visual information for most of life as well as Chronic Fatigue, Fibro and C-PTSD. I am an avid reader/writer/healthcare researcher, a life-long learner and love learning new things and meeting new people.  I have two adult sons. I live alone in my apt with a two year old feline named Bella.  My lifestyle is one of quiet solitude journaling, contributing to websites in which I participate and share my experience, strength and hope with other resilient people like myself working through similar issues. The websites that provide an online community of support for me have been HealthUnlocked.com, Huddol.com and Togetherall.com.

Why did you want to form a pen pal connection?

I sought a penpal connection for the sheer delight of meeting someone new  and expanding my horizons. The young lady I was matched with is a perfect fit because we both have a passion for writing and social justice issues. Our relationship is just beginning, but already I recognize a fascinating quality about her. I hope to encourage her as a young writer.

How has the pandemic affected you?

As to the pandemic, it took a backseat to the critical health issues of my youngest son, 40, who struggles with a severe and progressive form of Parkinson’s and my attempts at getting him appropriate medical care and information for us as a family so that we could understand how best to support him. It is painful to see someone so young deteriorating so quickly and grieving so deeply the bewildering loss of his mobility and functionality of his body. During the pandemic, I wrote to other seniors in my church that I missed getting to visit with due to COVID restriction, I even found myself writing to seniors I didn’t know through a wonderful community project. I called friends just to tell them that I missed seeing their smiling face or to hear their voice. I began creating my own stationery and am attempting a new interest in acrylic painting.

How has this program impacted you?

The program invitation to be a voluntary grandparent is a brilliant concept uniting different generations during the most difficult time our world has known. One can sometimes feel lonely living alone and the program has put me in touch with a teenager with similiar passions that I still have – I am looking forward to the development of a deep relationship with my new “granddaughter.” over the course of many years, I hope. I have glued her introductory letter into my Journal and think of her often as I wait for her next letter.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would encourage her to explore the world around her, to read as much as she can because opening the pages of any book takes you places you’ve never known before and introduces you to remarkable characters and writers. I would encourage her to believe in her value as a unique individual with untold talents and abilities that she would discover as she grew older each year.

If you are interested in participating in the Letters to Seniors Program, please email us at info@volunteergrandparents.ca.