Devoted Grandfathers, Devastating Decisions, Hateful Opinions

It happens all the time, all over the world.

A loving family is struck by a tragedy that could have been prevented had a different dot decision been made.

What’s a Dot Decision?

When I was a child, my father explained dot decisions like this …

“Imagine your life, drawn on a piece of paper,” he said. “Each decision you make is displayed as a dot on your ‘life map’, and the direction of your life changes at every dot. Some decisions are big. Some are small. All are dots. Whether you made the decision yourself or it was made for you, it constitutes a dot decision and it changes the course of your life.”

Life Map


When Dot Decisions Destroy Lives

A few days ago, my daughter reached out for prayer. Her friend, who I’ll call Nancy, had suffered a tragedy. Nancy had four children. Last week, Nancy’s father dropped her off at work with her youngest child buckled safely in his car seat.

Then Nancy’s father made a dot decision.

His decision wasn’t one of those conscious choices we make after some well-thought-out deliberation. Instead, it was a decision made in a Old Mans Griefdistracted moment. Who knows what was on his mind that morning, but something occupied his thoughts so much that, upon returning home from taking his daughter to work, he left his grandchild strapped in the car.

Nancy’s baby died that day.

Because of a careless dot decision, Nancy is grieving the loss of her young son. A little boy has lost his life. And a grandfather has lost … well, everything.

When news of a family’s misfortune spreads, so do opinions on social media

After Nancy’s loss, everybody had an opinion:

“What kind of grandfather would do that?”

“How can you forget you have a kid in the car?”

Valid questions. But how can any of us possibly imagine what was going through a devoted grandfather’s mind that would distract him to the point of leaving his precious grandchild in the car? I’m told he’s on suicide watch now, left to live with the destruction caused from a single dot decision, made on one preoccupied morning.

Another grandfather, another dot decision, permanent devastation

Yesterday, two more family members contacted me. A family with whom they’ve been close for decades had suffered a tragedy because of the dot decision of a man known for his kindness, loyalty, generosity, and love. I’ll call him Walter.

Walter’s 25-year old grandson was living with him and his wife, who I’ll call Cynthia. It’s believed that the grandson was having some trouble. Without knowing details, let’s assume he was stealing from his elderly grandparents, struggling with addiction, and chronically lying. Point being, tension had been building for quite some time. The young grandson had been making one dot decision after another that was not only changing the course of his own life, but the lives of his doting grandparents.

Yesterday afternoon, a heated argument ensued between the grandson and his 74-year-old grandfather, who used a walker to get around. The altercation escalated. Nobody can predict what was going through Walter’s mind when he made a dot decision that would destroy his entire family and all who love them.

Pointing a handgun at the young man who had spent the majority of his life with his grandparents in that very living room, Walter pulled the trigger, shooting his oldest grandchild in the torso. Cynthia, also reliant on a walker for mobility, was nearby when the gunshot sounded and chances are, she was making her way to the living room after hearing the resounding blast.

At that very moment Walter made a second, and final dot decision.

He turned the gun on himself, ending his life after taking the life of his grandson.

Cynthia, his wife of over 50-years, was left to … to … I don’t know. What does one do when they’ve just been the victim of somebody else’s dot decision? When everything they’ve ever known is shattered into millions of pieces?

Social media resounds with insensitivity…

“Same crap, different day.”

“They lived in the hood. What do you expect?”

“Section 8 is the problem here.”

“Getto. Big surprise.”

I didn’t know this family well. But I knew them, and some of my family members knew them intimately. The comments are cruel, insensitive Mean Peopleand wrong. They hurt those left behind. This family was a good family. They’d lived in the same house their entire lives. It was their home, despite the aging neighborhood. While it’s true that they didn’t have a lot of money, how does that justify the heartless comments?

Tragedies like these are, themselves, unbearable; however, the thoughtless words of others slice the wounds of the suffering even more deeply. These are two families, left to pick up the pieces of a shattered world, yet now, they also have to deal with the evil stares, rude comments, and ignorant opinions of those who never knew them.

And these are only two families. Two of many who are grieving while dealing with hateful strangers.

I’m not justifying nor condoning what happened to these grandchildren at the hands of their grandfathers, but I am saying, perhaps it’s more productive for society as a whole, if we were to pray for families like these when we hear of their adversities, rather than scold, mock, and condemn them.

10294381_10202835556507434_5960999127872220704_nWhile we’ve, hopefully, been fortunate not to have made dot decisions such as these, let us always be diligent, paying heed to our “life map” and the directions in which each of our dots will point us. It’s easy to make a life-altering decision in a distracted moment or a moment of rage or fear.

May we also be cognizant of the fact that our own dot decisions will, inevitably, redirect the life maps of those we love.

Bless you all and your ever-evolving life maps!


10 thoughts on “Devoted Grandfathers, Devastating Decisions, Hateful Opinions

  1. So much wisdom behind this writing. It’s also impacting how our decisions (good or bad) affect our loved ones. Then the media comes along and does what does best: twist stories around. There’s no compassion when the media is involved much less create room for it. There will come a moment when people need to get to the heart of the source and not rely on what the media puts in front of our face. Thank you for including me in this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lalyne, so true that the media can twist things and influence people to be cruel and insensitive. Heartbreaking. With media spreading as quickly as it does these days, I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a point in the world when the norm is for people to get to the heart of the matter, rather than what the media chooses to twist around for us.
      Bless you, Lalyne. You’re in my thoughts often. ❤


  2. Thank you for your loving words, they such a contrast to most of what has been said, my faith tells me that no one knows what journey led them to the outcome they chose, therefore, no one should judge that journey but our heavenly Father. Only he knows why the paths were chosen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope the loved ones find peace in knowing that the struggles they were having before it happened are now behind Walter and his grandson. Despite what happened and how it happened, I know God loved them and I have to believe they are at peace now, with Him. As you said, it’s not anybody’s place to judge. Only our Creator knows our hearts and can judge us accordingly.
    Thank goodness for that!
    I love you, Kim.


  4. Wow, that was really intense! I also read a post on abortion right before stopping by here. It’s a heavy morning, it seems. I appreciate the understanding that yes, those humans made a dot decision, mistakes, but regardless, it is never our place to judge. It’s hard not to though, because our ability to voice opinions and share them with the world is incredibly easy. I hope the families are healing and that hey have enough love and support to pick up the pieces and continue on.


    • I was just talking to my daughter about that a few minutes ago … about how easy it is to judge, even when we claim we don’t want to be like that. It’s a conscious decision we have to make and, even with that, it can be a constant battle since we often find ourselves judging others without even realizing we’re doing it!

      Interesting that you mentioned reading a post on abortion. On the “life map of dot decisions”, I almost put “abortion” as one of the dot decisions, as it is something one of my characters is facing in a novel I’m writing so it’s been on my mind. Definitely a heavy topic.

      It’s tough being human, isn’t it!? That’s why we gotta stick together!


  5. Oh Sharon, this one touched me so deeply. I’ve been in a holding pattern with my own dot decisions and trying to move forward from the one that was made on Dec. 15 last year. I’ve been relying on promises, mostly unkept and have to make a clear choice about the direction my boys and I are headed on our own life maps. We fail simply because we are fallible. I can guarantee that no one in the scenarios you describe was thinking, “Hey, I think I’ll ruin the lives of everyone I love, including my own.” I almost always come to that realization AFTER I’ve failed to put myself in their shoes first… Love you and I am trying to catch up on your blog dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura, I got goose bumps reading your comment. Every word you wrote touched me. I will keep you and your sons in prayer (really) as you make those dot decisions which will alter the course of your life maps. I really appreciated your thoughts about how no one in the scenarios I shared had set out to ruin lives with their decisions on those fateful days. It’s so important that we put ourselves in the shoes of others, as we’d want done for us if we were to make a tragic decision. You are a treasure to me, Laura. I love you!


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