Boynton Beach grandparents need help caring for their grandkids

Life was already very difficult for Catherine and Otis Hall, with their daughter, her disabled husband and four grandchildren crammed into the septuagenarian couple’s three-bedroom house.

Then one day, about a year ago, their 35-year-old daughter started complaining that she felt sick. This was the start of a series of heart attacks that left her permanently incapacitated in a hospital bed.

With their daughter unable to walk or talk and their daughter’s husband recovering in their home following a stroke, Catherine and Otis are responsible for raising their four young grandchildren, ages 1-9. And to do it in a deteriorating house.

Their Boynton Beach home is cheerful, warm and crowded. The hub is a living room where a crib vies for space with couches, bookshelves, and a coffee table, while a box fan hums in the doorway.

Everything in the Hall house seems broken, including this bathroom which is unusable.

Like their owners, the house is aging and stressed. The air conditioning has been broken for months. The shower in the hallway bathroom flooded making it virtually useless. Before school, children often wash in a sink instead.

The dishwasher is also broken. At night, the Halls close the windows without screens to keep insects out and spend their nights in the sweltering heat.

Working three jobs to get by

Jimmon Sharpe, 9, sits on his bed in the bedroom he shares with his two sisters.  He lives with his grandparents Catherine and Otis Hall in Boynton Beach.  Their mother is in hospital after a series of heart attacks.  Their father is recovering from a stroke.  The house has no air conditioning and no mosquito nets on the windows.

What isn’t broken is the couple’s determination to keep it all together. Otis, 70, has a part-time job at a Chick-fil-A and does landscaping work on the weekends. In his spare time, he earns extra money as an Uber driver.

Catherine, 71, spends her mornings schooling the two eldest, then takes care of the two youngest at home. She keeps the house clean and cooks the meals. The three oldest children share a bedroom – the two girls, Joneyah, 8, and Jontyia, 3, snuggle up in a twin bed, the boy, Jimmon, 9, in the other.

“It’s not easy,” Catherine said, “but I thank the Lord for helping me through this.

Catherine Hall comforts her granddaughter Hor'Hyrum.  The child's mother is in hospital unable to communicate, but when Catherine brought the baby to visit, she could feel her daughter's body heaving, as if she was trying to speak.

When she can, Catherine goes to Bethesda East Hospital to visit her daughter. The children she doesn’t seem to recognize. But once Catherine placed the baby, Hor’Hyrum, on the bed with her, and Catherine could feel her daughter’s body heave, as if trying to speak.

And even though she can’t communicate, Catherine is convinced that her daughter still recognizes her.

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