Photo Courtesy of Scott Kirk Photography

Friday, December 31, 2010


       A lot of people I know died in 2010.  From my childhood: Art Linklater ("Kids Say the Darnest Things"), Barbara Billingsley (The Beaver's mom), Fess Parker (Davy Crockett & Daniel Boone) and Tom Bosley (Mr. C) all left us.  From the world of sports: Sparky Anderson, Don Meredith, and Merlin Olson are gone.  And of course--"My, Oh My"--Dave Niehaus's voice has been silenced.    Even Rocky & Bullwinkle and Archie's creators died this year.  For me, each of these people had a place in my life; however, it is the passing of Andrew David Groom that saddens me the most this New Year's Eve.
       At this time last year, if someone would have told me how my life would be changed by one event from June 7, 2010, I would never have believed it.  Not my child.  Not Andrew.  If I've learned one thing from his death, I've learned that one can never tell your loved ones how much you love them enough.  Hug your kid.  Tell him or her that you love them, no matter how old he or she may be.  Don't have doubts as to whether he knew that you loved him. 
       There is a song that one may hear on the local country radio station.  The chorus goes something like this...

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse 'I Love You'
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense,
Never let your praying knees get lazy
And love like crazy."

       I think that will be my list of New Year's Resolutions. 
  • Be a best friend--to new ones and old ones;
  • Tell the truth--even when it hurts, but tell it with kindness;
  • Overuse I love you;
  • Go to work-even though it reminds of you of what has been lost;
  • Do your best--even when all you want to do is nothing;
  • Don't outsmart my common sense--it's God's voice speaking;
  • Never let my praying knees get lazy--God is always with me and He is listening;
  • Love like crazy--mainly because you know you are loved, even when you feel all alone.
Bill and I spent some time with Andrew today.  We swept the snow from his stone and rearranged all the things the storm had moved from the memorial we have created for our son.  So as 2010 ended, we spent one more moment with Andrew.  We feel his presence and miss him so much as we begin a new year without him.
       So I'll end this last entry of 2010 with a thought that I wrote in many thank you letters.  Even though I feel profound sorrow at the passing of Andrew, I also feel profound joy at being called to be his mother.  What a gift he was to us.

Here's to a Blessed 2011--Cheers
~Andrew's Mom

Friday, December 24, 2010


       It's Christmas Eve and my house is quiet.  It looks like Christmas, but it just doesn't feel right.  There are a few presents under the tree.  There are Christmas cookies on the counter.  There are Christmas cards hanging in the arch.  What is missing is my sixteen year old son sleeping in his bed.  I'm sitting here--still wondering after six months--how can he really be gone?  How could he not have known how much we loved him?  How could this have happened?
       Our friends have been so wonderful this Christmas season.  We have witnessed God's love in acts of kindness as they help us deal with our first Christmas without Andrew.  Some have given us words of comfort; some have given us things to honor and remember him.

Christmas in Heaven

'Tis Christmas in Heaven,
What a beautiful sight,
and I want you to know that everything is all right.
I've met all our dear ones who preceded us here.
The reunion was lovely,
An event full of cheer.
I think of my family that I left behind,
and I pray that your Christmas is as blessed as mine.
Please shed no more tears for my soul is at rest.
Just love one another and live life to its best.
Yes, it's Christmas in Heaven so I've heard them say...
Yet, Christmas in Heaven happens every day.

Merry Christmas from Heaven

I still hear the songs, I still see the lights,
I still feel your love on cold wintery nights.

I still share your hopes and all of your cares,
I'll even remind you to please say your prayers.

I just want to tell you, you still make me proud,
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd.

Keep trying each moment, to stay in His Grace.
I came here before you to help set your place.

You don't have to be perfect all the time,
He forgives you the slip, if you continue the climb.

To my family and friends,
Please be thankful today,
I'm still close beside you,
In a new special way.

I love you all dearly,
Now don't shed a tear,
Cause I'm spending my Christmas with Jesus this year.

My faith and my brain tell me this is all true.  But for my heart, I wonder how many more pieces it can break into. 

Dear Jesus--please give my boy a hug for me today.  Kiss him gently on the forehead and tell him how much I love him, today and always. Then give him a whack on the back of the head and remind him I have many things to say to him when we meet again.

~Andrew's Mom

Sunday, December 19, 2010


      During this week I will mail the last of this year's family Christmas card.  It is the first card since 1994 that Andrew hasn't been a part of it.  I almost didn't do a card, but I went back to the statement that has ruled my life this fall--what is your new "normal"?  My new normal, as I have been reminded as our family moves on, is a life and now, a Christmas card photo without Andrew. 
      Honestly, most of the time I still can't believe he is gone.  As we put the bathroom back together after its recent facelift, I finally cleaned out his side of the medicine cabinet.  I finally tossed his body wash from the shower.  But still I feel his presence so much I think I can reach out and hug him.
       So even though I am having a really tough time going through December without my son, December is going on anyway.  Therefore, we did do a 2010 Christmas card.  It is a beautiful card, thanks to dear Tracy who took precious pictures of the kids as they spent a fun snowy, rainy day at Gigi and Papa's.  And even though I know that I am still a part of this family, the part that I added to the equation isn't in the picture this year.  He resides in our hearts and in Heaven, but I really wish he was in our 2010 Christmas card.

Merry Christmas
~Andrew's Mom

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


       Six months ago my life changed forever.  The day was June 7th and it was a typical last week of school Monday.  My seniors had graduated the previous Friday , so my week looked pretty easy.  My mind was on my things so I didn't notice my son.  On that last day, when I left for school, he was in the shower.  I yelled at him, "I'll pick you up at 3:30 p.m."  All he said was, "O.K." He didn't say good-bye.
       Let's go back to the Friday before his death.  It was graduation Friday for me, so I was very preoccupied with finishing all the little touches that go into making a graduation a success.  We went out to dinner before we left for Waitsburg and I tried to talk Andrew into coming with us.  But he didn't want to, so he told us he would just walk home.  As he walked away I watched him.  I said to myself, "He looks so sad."  I play that picture over in my head--sadness personified.
       I've read all types of books during the past six months on suicide and death.  They have given me an insight into death, but these books haven't taken away the pain that I feel so acutely today.  I miss him so much.  I've spent the day in the house, the house where he spent his last minutes.  I've tried to do a few things today, but I can't.  I wonder if this was the type of sadness he was feeling.  People who have suffered with depression tell me about the deepness of the pit of dispair.  My pit is pretty deep today.  The difference between Andrew's pit and my pit is that I see away out of it.  He didn't.
       Today, Andrew is not feeling that darkness.  His life is in the presence of ultimate light--God and his precious Son.  Therefore, I am remembering the light that was in my life for sixteen years.  I see the smile on his face. I see joy in his heart.  I see the love he had for his friends and family. 
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.
~Psalm 31:24

I do have hope in the Lord; however, I really wish he would have said, "Good-bye."

~Andrew's Mom

Friday, December 3, 2010


       Tonight the Bulldogs played their first basketball game of this 2010-2011 season. The team wore new uniforms tonight, thanks to the kindness of people who gave donations in Andrew's name.  Both the JV and the varisty boys won.  All of this happened without Andrew; however, there were pieces of him in the gym. 
       A #40 jersey hangs over the locker room door, a reminder of a teammate who is no longer with the team physically, but whose spirit takes the floor every time those boys leave that locker room.  On the side of the boys' basketball shoes is a sticker that also serves as a reminder of a missing piece of the team--ADG 40.  These are reminders the team chose to do to remember Andrew.
       Bill and I also wanted to give each varsity basketball player something to remember Andrew.  In Andrew's closet hang beautiful dress shirts with matching ties that, still tied, hang on his gun rack.  However, some of those shirts were worn only once or twice.  Andrew liked his black shirt with his pink tie the best.  I would iron all of his shirts, have them hanging in his closet, ready to be worn on home game days.  However, Andrew would continue to go back to his favorite black shirt and pink tie.  And on the home game days when he didn't wear the pink tie, he would allow some of his teammates to borrow his favorite tie.  After Andrew's death, I thought that I might give his shirts and ties away; but, they still hang in his room to this day.  Jacob asked to borrow his pink tie for Homecoming and for a moment I almost told him just to keep it.  I was happy when he returned it, so I decided I wanted each of his teammates to have their own pink ties.
       On the day Roy selected the varsity team, we asked him to give each varsity player a box.  As he passed out the boxes, we asked him to read the following:

Dear Varsity Bulldog Basketball Team~
Once you had a teammate who loved being a Bulldog.  One of his proudest moments came last year when he came home to tell us that he had made the varsity team.  Tonight you have the same joy—knowing that you will represent Dayton High School as our varsity team.  Many nights we would grumble after a game because we felt he hadn’t played enough.  His answer to us was always the same—“My job is to help the team, whether it is on the floor for many quarters or whether it is supporting the team from the bench.  Roy, Mr. Strong, and Mingsy know what is best and how best I can help this team.” He just wanted to play basketball and he was proud to be your teammate.
Once you had a teammate who had a pink tie.  It was the first tie he bought when he became a Bulldog basketball player.  He loved wearing that pink tie with his black shirt.  He also shared that tie with some of you, so you could experience wearing that pink tie.
Tonight we give each of you your own pink tie.  Wear it or place it in a drawer.  Please do with it as you wish.  However, remember that once you had a teammate named Andrew who loved playing basketball with you. 
Bulldog Born.  Bulldog Bred.
Tonight, when we walked into the gym, we saw handsome young men, wearing black shirts and pink ties.  These same handsome young men played a tough, physical game, winning the first of what, we hope, will be many games this season.  After the game, each varsity player came to shake Bill's hand, give me a wonderful sweaty hug, and tell us thanks for coming to the game.  In return, we want to tell them thanks. Thanks for honoring our son in so many ways, but especially, for wearing pink ties.
~Andrew's Mom