Warwick women Bronwyn Mitchell and Lyn Sendelbeck selflessly raised their granddaughters as their own children.
Warwick women Bronwyn Mitchell and Lyn Sendelbeck selflessly raised their granddaughters as their own children. Kerri Burns-Taylor

A grandmother's love

WHEN Lyn Sendelbeck's daughter Lynette - or Lenny, as she was known - tragically died at age 22, the Warwick woman could not grieve the loss of her child as any loving mother should.

Instead, the courageous woman had to defy the crushing despair that must come when one loses a child, and raise her very young granddaughter, Chantelle, as her own.

The precious baby would never know her "mummy" but would soon look to her grandma as her "mum".

"I don't think I had time to grieve and I would say I have only come out of it in the last 12 months," Mrs Sendelbeck said.

Chantelle always knew Ms Sendelbeck was her grandmother but the two shared a relationship like any mother and daughter.

"She is still my child and I'm the only one I can count on - and I'm a little old lady," she said.

Ms Sendelbeck describes Chantelle as a person halfway between Lenny and herself.

"Swimming lessons were the hardest things because when she came out of the water I would think 'that's my daughter'," she said.

Although fellow Warwick woman Bronwyn Mitchell also found herself raising a grandchild, she was faced with a different challenge.

Having never had any biological children of her own, Mrs Mitchell's life was turned upside down when her husband Brian's nine-month-old granddaughter, Tori, came to live with them.

Although the challenge of raising a grandchild can have financial, emotional and lifestyle impacts, both women say there was no question as to whether they would accept the challenge.

"The big thing for me was finding time for me and realising I wasn't going to travel," Ms Sendelbeck said. "I realised I was not going to do that because I had to raise my granddaughter but I have no regrets."

"I never even thought about it. Who else would do it?" Mrs Mitchell asked.

They are both hopeful that a support group for grandparents in a similar situation can be established in Warwick.

The women say the group could be a great way for kinship and support for not only the grandparents but also their grandchildren.

Need help?

A support group is being developed for Warwick grandparents raising their grandchildren.

For more information phone Joanne on 4661 9975



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