In her 94 years, Grace Cyr was a foster mother to 98 children.
According to her Boston Globe obituary,
Ms. Cyr often cared for multiple children, including many with complicated medical needs. They joined whoever of Ms. Cyr’s daughters were living at home, along with grandchildren. For a time, she fostered three children under age 6, all of whom required wheelchairs.
Ms. Cyr, a stylish dresser, kept her chandeliers sparkling and was “never boring, ever.” A lovely 2010 profile contains this example of her ingenuity and devotion:
A boy born without a brain stem could neither speak nor see. Grace put his bassinet near her grandfather clock, whose ticking seemed to soothe him, and took care of him until he died.
More happily, the profile also includes the tale of a bag lunch gone awry:
Grace still laughs at the story of sending one of her foster sons to school on St. Patrick’s Day. She had dressed him in green and carefully packed his lunch for the occasion, including green Jell-O and a green can of ginger ale. Then she got a call from his teacher… Mistakenly, Grace had thrown in a can of Heineken instead of Canada Dry.
Grace Cyr’s obituary taught us the following vocabulary: foster, neglect, complexity, and respite. She also gave us the opportunity to learn the word altruism.