Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another Sad Day.....

My Grandpa died early this morning.  It's not terribly sad for HIM, but I'm sad for my mom.  No one shares her memories of her early life now.  Everyone from her immediate family is gone.  Of course, she had six kids, so she's hardly alone, but there has to be something unbalancing about being the last one left like she is.

My Grandpa was the grandson of Ida Ojerholm, who I've talked about before on my blog.  She came from Sweden in the 1880s.  He's the son of her youngest child, Margaret.  He was born too late to fight in WW2, but his cousin Eric Ojerholm was a Marine and fought and died at Iwo Jima (after his father fought in WW1, and survived).

My Grandpa was the only child of his parents, and early on loved and excelled at football.  Right after he met my Nana, he played one season for the NY Giants!  (which doesn't help me like them ONE BIT! :-P)  But he was considered too small (ha!), and besides, my Nana told me, they "were in love" (said with a drippy, heavy voice)(my Nana was funny! :-)
So he didn't go back, and he married my Nana, and he went to work at two jobs and raised a little family of 3 girls!

About the time I came along (1969), he had just started a coaching job in Marlborough, Massachusetts, at which he would end up becoming "legendary Coach Kronoff", and be inducted into the High School Football Coaches' Hall of Fame!  It was a huge deal!!  But I am most proud of being his granddaughter because of his attitude, and it's effect on people.  He had a strong work ethic, and as a coach (and later, a substitute teacher, where all the kids loved him, as well! :-), he never bullied or swore, or would allow that with his assistant coaches.  He never allowed showing off in the end zone or after plays AT ALL.  He believed in hard work, a positive attitude, and treating others with respect and fairness.

Long after he was coaching anymore, when I was an adult and would be visiting him and my Nana and aunt, random men would show up to see him and shake his hand and tell him what they were doing now -- sometimes they were IN college, sometimes they were married men -- and they wanted to come see him.  He used to say that was one of the perks of being a coach for him, having former players come back to tell him how their lives were turning out.

In my swirling, chaotic life, HE was a grounding person for me -- my big, strong, never-ruffled Grandpa.  Nothing bad could ever happen to us with my Grandpa as the head of our family.

....Except it did....

I will say one of the worst things that happened to blow apart my world was when my aunt Marcia, his youngest daughter and 30yrs old, was killed by a drunk driver.  I was 17, and my dad drove me to my Nana and Grandpa's house that morning (she had died around 1am), where my aunt Diane, my mom and my sister Karen already were.  It was horrifying.  And the horrors just kept coming -- listening to all of my beloved grown-ups sobbing and my mind scrambling to find a way that it wasn't really true, it didn't really happen.....trying to WAKE UP from this horrible dream to my real life, where my biggest tragedy was having to tell my dad I got a B in Physics.

But there would be no waking up -- this WAS my real life, and what the worst memory for me of that day (and the days that followed) is, was when I heard my aunt Diane walk into my Grandpa's tv room where he was sitting, and then I heard him break down and cry, sobbing like a little boy but with the deep sounds of his voice.  That's when it hit me that this WASN'T going to be ok, EVER Grandpa was crying.

Recently, well "20yrs"-recently (lol), he enjoyed becoming a GREAT-Grandpa!!  We have lots of pictures of him surrounded by an ever-increasing number of babies and little kids! :-)

Of course, *I* got the FIRST.....hee hee hee!

Being the oldest, I am ALWAYS first....!! :-D

That is my Grandpa, with his daughter (my Mom), and ME (her daughter), and then MY two boys, who were the first-born grandchildren!  You can see I'm holding my trouble-some ADAM in a "sling" carrier -- my hand is unconsciously covering his face when the camera flashed, because I remember he was finally asleep, and I was hoping to get an hour's nap out of him! :-)

Actually, the latest pictures of him with ALL the other grandchildren who have come along since are alot better -- CUTER! :-)  There's him with TONS of kids!!  I don't have any of those with me, I know my sisters have them on their cameras/phones/computers.  THIS picture I posted is an actual paper picture, I can hold it in my hand.  I remember being so impressed by the technology of my new camera that stamped the date on the pictures!

Here are some other favorite pictures of me and my Grandpa.....

The first two are with my dearest Nana, too!  The last one of me on the slide is about a year or so later.  I was the first grandchild, so I was treated like a princess!! :-D  These pictures are also the hard, cardboard kind.....does that make me old....? :-)

I have to say, I'm really ready for this summer to be OVER, for this year to be OVER.....I feel overwhelmed by all this loss, and a little insecure now about who else could I/we lose before 2014 is over.....what is next?  I haven't talked to Pat in almost a month, because she's traveling around the country visiting sisters and nieces with new babies, and having fun while she feels good.  As far as I know, she isn't having any "cancer issues", and I'm VERY grateful for that.....I pray it continues ....forever!  Of course, it can't..... *Sigh!*

I am sad and sorry that my Grandpa is gone, but I am glad for him that it was quick and he had lived a full, satisfying life that he felt grateful for.  He also was happy and ready to join my Nana and Aunt Marcia and Aunt Diane, who died before him.  I will miss him, but I am SO grateful and proud to be his grand-daughter!  And I thank God for that.  My heart is grateful.


  1. Lisa, what a nice tribute to your Grandfather. He sure sounds like he had a good life, well loved and admired. My heart goes out to you. You surely have had a trying year an I am still praying for your well being.
    Sending you a big hug and blessings.


    Rest in Peace Coach Kronoff

  2. Hi Lisa. I sure am sorry for your loss. What a great story about your grandfather. Those pictures are very nice, Your grandfather sure lived a good life being able to do what he loved. I just lost my dad on 4th of July. He had a lot of health issues for a long time so it was a blessing. We will be strong and handle what God gives us. You take care and I will be thinking of you. Debra

  3. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like he had a wonderful life. I know how you feel 3 years ago I lost my best friend, three months later my pap pap passed then my dad got cancer. It's very overwhelming waiting and feeling like your in a daze but we have such a short time here and need to live our lifes that's certainly what our loved ones want. Big Hugs! Amy

  4. Dear Lisa:
    I truly wish I could drive over to your house, and tell you to grab your purse - we are going for coffee. There are so many thoughts swirling in my head, I hardly know where to begin.

    Perhaps it was a blessing that the time from your Grandfather's diagnosis to his departing this life seemed to fly by. Just five weeks, it seems. I hope he had time to visit with those he loved, and I hope he had time to reflect on the very long life he had. I hope he had time to think of the joys, as well as to reflect on the sorrows that was a part of his life. A parent never recovers from the loss of a child. Period. It is not the order of things that we should outlive our children. Such a loss is made even more wrenching when the death was caused by another's negligence. We don't arrive at the age of 87 without experiencing a life that is laden with much happiness and, yes, tears as well. I hope he was able to reflect on his life and be at peace. It sounds like he lived an honorable life. That he will be missed, is a testimony to a life well lived.

    I want you to especially take care of yourself. If I were your neighbor, I would be over often to monitor you and see that you were following my "orders"! I know that this is such a sad season in your life, right now. I am so sorry. I am sure that the silence you feel from Cheryl's absence must be so hard. It always is. But Lisa, you MUST NOT wish the rest of this year to be gone. For you have a loving husband and good children who love you and need you. You must learn to enjoy the journey of live - even with all of it's sorrows. This time you have with your husband and children will not come again. Someday your children will leave home - perhaps many miles away. Please try - I know it is hard right now for you - please take time to laugh and play with your husband and children. I am sure that this is what your Grandfather and Cheryl would want.

    Be happy for Pat. I am thrilled that she feels well enough to travel. She is enjoying the journey of life for now. Tomorrow will be here soon enough.

    As I go about my life out here in California, you are in my thoughts. I care and I wish I could take this burden of pain from you,

    Cheryl Davis (

  5. Thinking of you and yours my dear prim friend. <3

  6. Lisa:
    I forgot to mention how much I loved the pictures. I was too busy being "Miss Bossy Knickers". Well, you know I care about you, so that is why I lecture.

    It sounds like your Grandfather was a wonderful person. I sure wish we never had to lose the people we love. If your Grandfather had lived to be 101 years old, his passing would have still been too soon. Blessings sent your way,
    Cheryl (

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. he was a huge part of our life.

  8. Are you paying more than $5 per pack of cigarettes? I'm buying my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 50% from cigs.