A letter to my family

Once again, my family is separated during the holidays. Perhaps you have gone through a similar situation where your family has also been separated due to this horrific pandemic. This year I wrote the following to my family… my son and daughter, their partners, their children and their children’s children.

Dear family,

I am so sorry that the pandemic interrupted our plans for the holidays. Your decision not to travel was the correct one, although I am very disappointed. In addition, I am very sad that my four young great-grandchildren know even less who I am and who I was. Therefore, I will describe what I look like now and what their “Gigi” looked like years ago.

I have short, gray hair that used to be thick, long, and dark. I have pink eye slits that used to be wide and nutty in color. I have brown spots on my checks that were once part of a peach and cream complexion. I wear bifocals to see anything, when once my young eyes have seen everything. I have hearing aids, but once I may have heard more than I should have! I use a walking cart for every step I take, whereas in the old days taking long walks was a passion for me. Now, at 97, I’m barely 5 feet tall, when I was 5-2 years old for about 80 years of my life. I am chubby, weighing almost 140 pounds while most of my adult life I was 20 pounds lighter. I also have a crooked and painful right leg that forces me to stand and walk in a bent position rather than the straight posture I once had.

Although these physical changes are to be expected over the years, I try to maintain an optimistic and tolerant outlook on life. My positive attitude is called into question by today’s social and political discord. I see our democracy being destroyed by the lies, greed, hatred, racism and violence encouraged by former President Donald Trump. Its evil influence threatens our future. Now, I count on you, my dear ones, under the wise guardianship of your parents, to be fervent supporters of our democracy and of a good and peaceful future.

When you think of your “Gigi” know that I am and was a loving great-grandmother who appreciates all of life and nature. I want to preserve our freedoms, take care of our beautiful land and sincerely love people – all people.

My love and concern for all my family is now and forever,

Grandmother / “Gigi”

Harriet Hausman, 97, is a longtime River Forest resident and proud member of the ACLU.

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