Friday, July 12, 2013

Losing Your Last Grandparent is Hard

I know its been extremely silent here on Rosie Discovers for quite a while now.  On July 26th, my last living grandparent, my grandfather passed away.  I've been debating on whether or not I should write something, Susie didn't really think I should, but I always think its important to share what's going on with our lives.  Let's just say she won't be thrilled when she sees I've written it.

My grandfather, Robert Fred Groen Sr. deeply loved my grandmother and his extended family.  Both of them loved to entertain, have parties and guests.  I can't remember a time when we'd visit them and it would be just us.  There was always a house full of relatives or friends visiting.  There would be huge family trips, parents and grandkids included there are about 30 of us.  They'd also have huge family reunions or parties up at the lake house.  Those were truly something to see.  You've never been in a crowd until you've been in a Groen/Hannigan/Reese/Rouse/Sarver/Stanfield party.  We're talking hundreds of people of all ages!

When I was younger, being a part of that crowd was always a little disconcerting.  Everyone knew me, as I'm the oldest grandchild, but I wouldn't always remember everyone there.  See we rarely lived by family while I was growing up.  We moved back and forth across the country due to my dad's job.  If I haven't said it before, this is the third time I've lived in Chicago.  I've also lived in Portland, Oregon; Louisville, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington.  We lived in Chicago until I was four.  I spent most of my time with both sets of grandparents because my parents both worked downtown.

Back to my grandfather, he'd been diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer over a year before and our family has been watching him waste away since then.  It got really bad this past winter, when he started falling and rapidly losing weight.  Susie and I would see him at least once a month for dinner whenever our Aunt Betsy would be by to visit.  During this time he was still his somewhat grouchy, rascally self.

Things went downhill the end of April, beginning of May.  The aunts actually got him to agree to move out of Friendship Village, pretty much the Rolls Royce of retirement communities, and move in with one of them.  Hospice got involved and we were told he wouldn't last through the end of the year.  After moving, he just seemed to rapidly go downhill.  We were lucky to get to see him the weekend before father's day.

After he passed on the 26th, things have been up in the air.  We were out of town for about 4 days and we've done several family things since then.  We've been sad, teary and exhausted.  But, things are finally getting back to normal around here.

I think that's enough for now.  I'll write more about his life at a later date.


  1. Saying a prayer that your happy memories will comfort you at this difficult time. Losing someone you love is so difficult, and I'm very sorry for your loss. Be patient with yourself as you grieve. It's a long process. My parents died five years ago and I'm still working my way through it. Take care. x

  2. Alison,
    That was so lovely. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. I just found this site otherwise I would have said something before now. I still grieve their loss and probably will forever. I was Daddy's little girl.
    Thank you for this.
    Love your Aunt,