Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Russell Eugene Grow

We laid my sweet Grandpa to rest yesterday. 
Grandpa has been struggling for a while, ever since he fell and broke his hip, and then his other hip.
About a month or so ago, he had a stroke and was in the hospital. After breaking both hips, he had experienced the Rehab Facility ordeal, and didn't want to go back, so when he was released form the hospital, he went home. Unfortunately after that, he never got better. He was back in the hospital, and then home again. On Labor Day we had a barbecue at their house, and it was the first time in a long time that we had so many family members at my Grandparents'. Grandpa looked like he was doing better, he had one of his classic smirks on his face, and was eating. The next day, I got a text message from my mom around 3:30 saying that Grandpa was back in the hospital and the doctor had said it could be a couple hours, or a couple days, but that he was on his last leg.
I think I cried about six times before I even made it to the hospital.
When John got home from work, we went up to the U and sat with the family. And just waited. 
He passed away about 9:20 PM. 
It was a hard day.
We had a viewing Sunday night, which I feel are always so awkward. I'm not sure anyone knows really what to do at a viewing. 
The funeral was at the Parleys Stake Center, and I was asked to speak.
Sure...make the pregnant girl with raging hormones get up and speak. 
It wasn't too bad. But, I did cry through the whole thing. 
Friday night my Mom was kind of freaking out because the program wasn't done yet. So, I went home at 11 PM on Friday, put together this program, woke up early on Saturday, got all the information in there, got it to Mom by 10 AM so she could get it to the printer, and it was all done.
Phew. It was hurried, but I feel like I did a good job.
Grandpa was buried at Mt. Olivet. I didn't even know you could still buy burial plots there, but, you can! We had a full military service, which was a first for me, and super cool. I totally jumped while they were doing the 21 gun salute (which was really only 18).

The Roos Family. Minus Boo and lots of children.
The first time all Roos children have been together since before Riley left on his mission. Jeez.

Like I mentioned, I spoke at the funeral. Because this acts as our journal, I decided I would put it on here. You don't have it read it, this post is already wordy.

Who is Russell Grow? A father, a son, a husband, a grandfather, a friend. An avid golfer, bowler, and a man who loved watching the Jazz. While looking through old photos, I came across one that described Grandpa perfectly. In this picture, Grandpa was laying on his stomach on the ground,with one grandchild sitting on his back, and four others surrounding him while he played with a remote control race car. Grandpa was so devoted to his family, especially his grandchildren. He did anything and everything for his family, and was always there to support his grandkids. Whether it be lacrosse, soccer, dance, or basketball, you could always find him in the audience cheering us on. Even toward the end of his life, he made sure he was there to support his grandkids. Elliot's wedding was about a month ago, right after Grandpa had his first stroke. Grandpa had just gotten out of the hospital, and wasn't able to eat solid food, so Elliot wasn't expecting to see him at his wedding dinner. He said it was the best surprise of the night when he saw Grandpa come through that door.

Because of his love for his family, I have decided to share stories and thoughts shared with me by different family members about our Dad and Grandpa.

Grow barbecues have been a tradition for as long as I can remember. I think during the summers growing up, we spent every Sunday in that backyard as a family. Grandpa was the grill master for a long time, always the one to cook the hotdogs and hamburgers for the whole family. His ability to make different foods is something we'll all miss. He made some of the best treats. Kati relayed to me that she remembers, every time she would be at his house, and the recipe for his banana bread was on the refrigerated, she would make a comment about how good banana bread sounded. Without fail, our mom would receive a phone call within a couple of days from Grandpa telling her that he had a loaf of banana bread for our family. His banana bread wasn't his only baked good that we all loved. His cinnamon rolls, and his pull-a-parts are still raved about today, and we all try and fail to make them taste just like his. My favorite was always his raspberry jam. When we would get a jar of that at our house, it was something that you wanted to eat immediately, but didn't want it to end. I think I tried to hoard it at the dinner table so I could have it all to myself.

When asking different families members, a couple different things repeatedly came up. Grandpa had very colorful language, so much so that Steve and Kathy's friends called him Cuss Grow. He had one phrase that he said often. It's not something I will be repeating, but if you knew Russ, you know what it is.

Secondly, everyone told me about Grandpa's farting, especially while golfing. While I never had the opportunity to go golfing with him, I experienced this several times. A time I remember specifically was when I was standing in my Grandparent's kitchen, and my Grandfather walked passed me, stopped, lifted his leg closest to me, farted, and walked away. As flabbergasted as I was, apparently this wasn't abnormal. While golfing, whether he was teeing off, or putting, this was his routine before hitting the ball. As my uncle Kelly put it, "It was like he was getting a little extra oomph to hit his ball"

Grandpa always had a way to keep people smiling, even if it may have been deemed inappropriate by some. Every time I saw him, no matter how he was, he had a smile on his face, and wanted to know how I was doing. He treated everyone around him as his family, whether or not they actually were. Carol Stringham, a friend of my Mom's for years, wrote my parents this sweet card that said all of the things she remembered about Grandpa, including his colorful language, but more importantly, she wrote that she remembered that Grandpa ALWAYS had a place at his table. That is so true, he was always so welcoming to other.When I first introduced my husband to Grandpa, I was more concerned about him liking John than the rest of the family. My grandfather meant so much to me that I wanted him to love John as much as I did. I couldn't have asked for a better response. To see my Grandpa welcome my husband into his family with open arms, and love him as his own grandson meant the world to me. It's since become a joke that Grandpa may have liked John a little more than he liked me. I will never forget dancing with Grandpa at my wedding. He made me laugh the entire time as he told me that he couldn't dance, and melted my heart when he told me that my new husband was a lucky man. I am so grateful that he was healthy enough to dance with me, and that I got the opportunity to do so. I felt so honored when my Mom told me that he would be buried in the tie he wore to my wedding, it made that memory so much more special to me. By the way, he was a great dancer. Even at 83.

As hard as it is to see such an amazing man go, it is comforting to know that he is in a better place and no longer hurting. I see so much of him in my cousins, uncles, and my Mom that I know that he will live through all of us, and is with us every day. We miss him, we love him, and we can't wait to see him again.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh Ella! I wish I would have known you were speaking. I would have been there. I can't imagine speaking... You are a tough pregnant lady! That sounds like an amazing talk too! And I agree, viewings = so awk.