Photo Courtesy of Scott Kirk Photography

Thursday, September 2, 2010


  There are many people who have helped Bill and me get through the past months.  The one person who may have been most helpful has no idea what she has done for us.  How can she?  She is only five years old and she is one of the most precious gifts I have in my life.  Hendrix River Groom is grandchild #4 (age wise) of the five Groom grandchildren.  However, because of her parents' work situation and other activities--mainly their love of softball--Hendrix has been a permanent fixture in our home since she was four months old.  She was six months old when she attended her first AAU tournament.  She has traveled to Oregon, Idaho, California, Montana, and Wyoming with us. She has attended high school football, volleyball, and basketball games.  She has even attended Cougar football games, as well as a Mariner game with us.  Wherever we go, she goes.

Because of all the time she has spent with us during the past five years, it was only natural that she and Andrew would become close.  Andrew is the youngest of four children, but his siblings were only in the house a few years while he was growing up.  Billy is sixteen years older--Clint is ten years older, with Amanda in the middle.  So having Hendrix with us so much, Andrew got to find out what it was like to have a little sister. When she was younger, she was fun to play with.  As she grew older and more verbal, we saw the relationship grow more sibling-like a.k.a. arguing, irritating, and tattling on one another.  However, you knew they would go to the ends of the earth for one another.  Andrew was also very good to Hendrix. If he promised something to her, he was good on his word. 
The last memory I have of the two of them together takes place on a late May Sunday afternoon.  Bill and Andrew spent the day mowing lawns.  It had been a gloomy weekend and Hendrix spent most of it indoors.  Before Bill and Andrew left that morning, Hendrix said, "Grandma~it's a beautiful day outside."  "Yes, Hendrix.  It is a beautiful day outside."  Let me translate this for you--"Grandma, I want you to go outside and play with me."  "Hendrix, I don't want to go outside and play."  Andrew heard our conversation and told Hendrix that he would play with her when he got back home.  True to his word, once he and Bill returned home, he took her outside to play.  Not only did he take her to play, he took her to the park to play.  The park is about a mile from our house and he decided they would walk.  He was a smart kid--he knew if they walked, she would be tired and he wouldn't have to play with her very long.  They went and we received a phone call about 45 minutes later.  They both were ready to come home and neither one of them wanted to walk.  But how many sixteen year old boys would take their four year old niece to the park to play, just because he said he would?
 Hendrix was always concerned (or nosy) about Andrew--Where is he?  When will he be home?  Why is he in trouble?  Why does he get to go and I can't?  She's been the same way since his death.  On that evening, we were sitting on my parents' porch.  Mother has this interesting bush--it is red and green.  Hendrix was out playing and she brought me two leaves from that bush.  "The green one is Andrew when he was alive.  The red one is Andrew's blood now that he is dead.  He's with Jesus now, Grandma."  Out of the mouths of babes.  She's also been concerned with his well-being.  One night while I was fixing dinner Hendrix looked at me and said, "Grandma, Jesus is going to fix Andrew anything he wants to eat."  She had been the witness to many discussions as to how I wished Andrew would vary his diet.  Cereal really isn't the only thing a boy should eat.  Then last week, while she and I were having major discussions about what was appropriate for a five year old to wear to school, she looked at me and asked, "What do you think Andrew is wearing right now?"  I had an image of him in basketball shorts and a t-shirt.  So I told her.  "God will let him wear whatever he wants," she replies.  She's right, he will.
        The best discussion we've had is a memory that will always bring a laugh.  Right after Andrew died, we cleaned his room and moved the computer in there.  Andrew and I had had many discussions about where his bed fit best.  I thought it was great against the east wall--he liked it in the middle of the room.  Every year I would put it where I wanted it.  Shortly after that move, he would move it back to the middle.  So as I was rearranging the room, Hendrix informed me that where I had placed the bed was not where Andrew liked it.  I informed her that I didn't care, I liked the bed against that wall.  And a second point of discussion was, "And he isn't here to argue with me about it."  So I turned the light out and we walked out of the room.  As I closed the door I hear, "He's not going to like it."  And that was the final statement about the placement of the bed.
       So it's not just her company that has allow me to go on with my life without Andrew, it is her compassion for him now that he is no longer with us.  She helps me water the flowers on his grave.  She rearranges things like she thinks he would like them.  I hope as she grows older she will not forget him.  I hope as she grows older she will understand how much her love has helped to lessen the pain I feel each day.  Because of the love she and I share for Andrew, I have hope.

~Andrew's Mom


  1. What a true gift from God Hendrix is. Prayers and Blessings to your whole family.

  2. I spent a part of this afternoon reading your entire blog.
    I learned from you sharing this story. I am hard on my children. I know it. Maybe it is the teacher in us, who only wants the best for them. So when you wrote what you would do if you had one more opportunity...I will be sure to tell my children just how much I love them. I know you can't tell them enough.
    So thank you for sharing Andrew's memory and your thoughts.

  3. Beautifully written because beautifully known and felt. Thanks for teaching us.