Friday, February 16, 2007

Perspective: 'Grandparents are forgotten in this'

Jaime S. Jaenke, a single parent, died last June in Iraq. By law, the $500,000 military death benefit and life insurance must be held in trust until her 9-year-old dauther turns 18.

Her daughter was killed by a bomb in Iraq. Eight months later, Susan Jaenke is both grief-stricken and strapped -- behind on her mortgage, backed up on her bills and shut out of the $100,000 government death benefit that her daughter thought she had left her.

The problem is that Jaenke is not a wife, not a husband, but instead grandmother to the 9-year-old her daughter left behind. "Grandparents," she said, "are forgotten in this."

For the Jaenkes and others like them, the toll of war can be especially complex: They face not only the anguish of losing a son or daughter but also the emotional, legal and financial difficulties of putting the pieces back together for a grandchild.

Read the rest at the Washington Post