We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have our lives well planned out. It was that way for me, being a product of the 1950/60’s: I’d go to college, meet my prince, get married, have children and live happily ever after. As much as I thought I knew what to expect, my life was riddled with surprises. But the last was the most unexpected, compelling me to write Fifth Child, a non-fiction book about the anguish and consequences of a drug-addicted child, which resulted in parenting her child almost since birth.

My husband and I are cast into a shockingly large demographic. Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing phenomenon in our country because of our shifting economy, unmarried teen mothers, alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. Close to 10 million grandparents comprise the club. We had already raised four children. Jaime was our third child, and Brady is her son, who began calling us Mommy and Daddy when he was three. Readers may be amazed to find calamity overcoming a so seemingly traditional family. But as events and family history unfold, disturbing pitfalls and unfortunate genetic vulnerability reveal fault lines that can sabotage people from any walk of life.

"The Addict's Mom Sharing Without Shame" Video is so important whether addiction has touched your life or not. It's powerful. Please click on the link below to watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNZbbePiKg

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I am so grateful to all my blog viewers. Since publishing my book and blogging more; I've more than doubled my page views. Thank you so much! It warms my heart that my work is appreciated. Your page views show me that. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

May I Suggest...

I've just come across a wonderful website for parents whose children are battling addiction. It's called "The Addict's Mom"-Sharing Without Shame. It is also for dad's, siblings, grandparents, family and friends who are close to someone with an addiction. It is a place to learn about other families and how they deal with addiction in their lives. It has focus groups, shares poetry, art and feelings. Mostly, it offers support, something families desperately need while dealing with an addicted loved one. Even though my drama no longer exists, I feel a responsibility to share my strength and experience and continue to learn and listen. No one ever knows what life will throw at them.

Monday, September 30, 2013


5.0 out of 5 stars
Could NOT put this book down, September 29, 2013
This review is from: Fifth Child: The Turbulent Path That Led to Parenting Our Child's Child (Paperback)
Fifth Child is a fascinating true story about one family's journey dealing with addiction. I read this book in a couple of days and couldn't put it down! The author Lynne Gassel has the unique ability to connect the reader to the characters as if they were part of the family...I cried and laughed and cried again! Thank you Lynne for sharing your amazing story with us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013



I’m just trying to find a good ending.  –Brady, age 6                                                                                                         

Worried that Jaime would slip away in the night, neither of us slept well. Stu and I held onto each other tightly, hoping it would help us fall asleep, but I kept listening for the front door to open or the start of a car engine. Thankfully, the night was uneventful.
In the morning, we drove straight to the outpatient rehab facility located inside our local hospital. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, as I rode the empty elevator up to the floor labeled “Chemical Dependency Treatment.” I never imagined our family would be here and hoped I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. I didn’t want to have to explain anything, at least not yet. When we reached the front desk, the receptionist was very friendly and asked us if we’d like water or coffee while we waited.    I’d rather have a new life, I thought.