Marie Larson grieves the loss of her daughter while celebrating the deliverance of her granddaughter.
Her daughter, Gerallynn, suffered severe brain damage in a 1971 car accident, which Marie attributes to her decline into “nothing more than a street person.”
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Marie said. “I put her in God’s hands long ago.”
But there was something she could do when Gerallynn gave birth to Linda nearly six years ago: Marie could take the infant into her heart - and into her care.
It’s not been easy.
The little girl was born with multiple problems: a hole in her heart, cerebral palsy, severe digestive disorders and chronic pinkeye. She also has shortened tendons in her hands.
Marie, 57, has learned how to cope with Linda’s challenges by confronting her own problems: She’s a Hanford downwinder and suffered her own head injury in a separate car accident. She raised two stepdaughters with learning disabilities and helped them achieve more than anyone thought possible.
Because of her own physical ailments, Marie believes in the value of nutritious food.
“I feel better now than when I was 28, when I first got into health maintenance,” she said.
Linda seems to thrive under her grandmother’s diet regime. A month shy of 6, she is 47 inches tall and weighs a solid 60 pounds.
Linda’s mental abilities are 18 to 24 months behind her chronological age. But her heart has healed, and her digestive problems are gone, thanks to drinking pure goat’s milk in her infancy and eating home-grown, organic food ever since.
Marie and her supportive husband, Martin, 50, have guardianship of Linda, which means they assume full financial responsibility for her well-being.
Retirement was in the offing when Linda came into their lives. Now, Marie homeschools the girl.
At Sunday school, Linda received a certificate “for being so eager,” her grandmother said with a laugh. “She can sometimes be exasperating. She’s a willful little lady.”
Marie gave her husband the final say about whether to bring Linda into their home. After a period of thought and prayer, he told Marie he based his conclusion on “what he’d want if he were in Linda’s shoes - or diapers.”
Plus, the couple supports having family assume responsibility for family.
Marie believes Linda can succeed with the same philosophy she used to help her stepdaughters: “Nobody has the right to put limits on God.”
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