Muriel O'Gorman can tell you a thing or two about how fragile life can be.
"Hi April, how are you?" Muriel asked.
Muriel is tutoring April Hudson, who had a severe stroke two years ago. The 87-year-old is helping April regain her speech.
"A doe was shot, she was carrying twins," Hudson said.
Doctors didn't expect April to live and for a while, she was on a feeding tube.
"I feel very humble because I know she is trying her best," Muriel said. "I can see in the spark of her eye she is trying."
Muriel feels good about helping April, but for a time last month, their meetings were put on hold for a good reason. Muriel's grandson Quincy went missing New Year's Eve. The 23-year-old was drinking at an Island Pond bar and when police pulled his car over, he fled on foot.
"As the days went by, I had very little hope," Muriel said.
Vermont State Police found Quincy's body days later.
Muriel lights a candle every day for Quincy.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You do this every day?
Muriel O'Gorman: Every day.
Joe Carroll: Why do you do this?
Muriel O'Gorman: Well, it makes me feel peaceful and I feel he's here with us.
Muriel says Quincy was a good kid who had a wild side.
"He lived for today," she said. "Yet he was kind to people."
Muriel raised him after another tragedy struck the family a decade earlier. An accidental fire claimed the life of Muriel's son, Mark, who was Quincy's dad. Quincy had lived part of the time with his mother but spent the majority of his young life with his dad. The death was a shock to the family.
Joe Carroll: How did he deal with that?
Muriel O'Gorman: Not very good.
Suddenly, Muriel had a new responsibility.
"I was his mother, his father, his grandmother and his friend," she said.
Quincy was just 12 and was a handful but Muriel said he had a great heart. Recently, he was starting to settle down and taking classes to be an insurance agent.
Muriel O'Gorman: He was waiting for a job. And two weeks after he died, he was offered a job in Williston.
Joe Carroll: They didn't know?
Muriel O'Gorman: No.
Quincy had a lot of friends. The funeral service was an overflow crowd of friends and family. Muriel wrote a poem for the Island Pond Community.
"Through your hugs and kind words, you can calm our fear on this journey toward tomorrow," she read.
"When people think of Muriel, she's always been a support to people, so it's just natural for people to support her in her time of need," said Melinda Gervais-Lamoreux, a friend.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. In sorrow, it takes all those same people to bring peace.
"We thank you for your love which gives us our inner peace today," Muriel read from her poem.
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