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Home > Author > Peggy J O'Connor
 
Peggy J O'Connor

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Member Since: Aug, 2008

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  Peggy J O'Connor           

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The challenge in life is to take it as it comes and move forward with a smile on your face. One thing is for sure: the sun will set tonight and rise again in the morning. How you face the day is up to you.


Background Information

I married at age 19, full of hopes for the future with my husband.  Family was very important to us and starting a family immediately was a given.  By our third wedding anniversary we had two children and were filled with ambition.  By the time I turned 40, I had a daughter starting college, a son in high school and our younger daughter in Jr. High.  Just prior to my 42nd birthday, my daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and the world came crashing down.   Within three years, my husband suffered a stroke at 49 and my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  We laughed at the cancer with a tumor humor party when the six month checkup showed no growth of the tumor.  Working full time as an executive assistant, I would not let the worries overwhelm me.  My mindset was that we would survive.  Our daughter married in 1988 and my promise to dance at her wedding came true.  My husband's disabilities from the stroke continued despite the rehab.  My mother began to deteriorate and needed care 24/7.   When our daughter announced she was pregnant, against all odds, we felt we were blessed and dreams could come true.  Her son was born at 26 weeks gestation and weighed 2lbs, 9oz.  Within a week of bringing this miracle child home, our daughter was hospitalized again.  Brain tumor returned, one in a hundred chances of living three days.  Hope and prayer pulled us through and she lived until her son was 14 months old.  My mother died at 91 years of age and my husband has survived 27 years since his stroke.  I was forced to realize that he could no longer take care of me, that I had become his caregiver.  Financially, we were going downhill.  I started a business and left my job to pursue it.  I eventually started two more businesses and have now written four books.  I am active as an advocate for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and two weeks ago, I graduated college with a degree in Psychology.  What happens now I do not know but I do know that I can survive. 

Birth Place
Chicago, IL USA
Accomplishments

In 2011, we took a family trip to Ireland to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversay. I have now written four books and working on the next. I am on the State of Illinois Task Force for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and the Advisory Board for the Department of Aging. I am also active as a board member for the community affordable housing program. Accepting my diploma with my family there to cheer me on was a wonderful moment, a living message to my granddaughters that you can do anything you want, even if you're older than expected to do it.

Additional Information

The epidemic of grandparents becoming parents again to the grandchildren whose parents cannot raise them. There are seven million children living in grandparent headed households in the United States. That is a significant portion of our society and yet no one is doing anything to help the grandparents help the children.

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