Why Losing Your Last Grandparent Feels Like Losing So Much More

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A few weeks ago I lost my last living grandparent, the one I was SO close to! My Grandma Hoch was the “matriarch” of our family. Her home was lovingly known to many as “The Hub” (she even had a sign that my parents had made for her hanging on her back sunroom).

She was the mother to five, grandmother to 13, and great-grandmother to 19! Her home was our family meeting place, although many had larger homes, we all still preferred to congregate at my grandparent’s cozy ranch for holidays, birthday parties, graduations, and other family get-togethers.

This home has been a constant in our lives. It was the home my grandmother raised her children in, the home she helped raise her grandchildren in, and then even several of her great-grandchildren were cared for by my grandmother in this home. And although the home holds a special place in my heart because of the memories that it evokes; it was my grandparents who made those memories with us and they were the reason we would all gather together.

Life has seasons, and the older I get the more I realize this. Losing my grandmother, the one who brought us all together, the one of who we are all a part of, felt like losing SO much more! With the seasons of life, comes the changing of the hierarchy in a family. From now on, we will no longer meet all together at my grandparent’s house. Holidays, birthdays, and other family events will be celebrated in different locations and new traditions will begin.

This realization hit me hard as I was leaving my hometown to head back to South Carolina. When will I see my aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins again? Although we moved away, I could always count on seeing my extended family when we came home for the holidays and all met at “grandma’s house”. This is why it seems like when you lose your last grandparent you’re losing SO much more.

After my grandmother’s funeral, I asked my family if we could have one last “family meal” at my grandma’s house and I was so happy when everyone agreed! We shared food, laughter, tears, and wonderful memories in the home that we all knew and loved. I feel like this would have made my grandparents so happy to see us gathering together in the home that they graciously welcomed us all into for so many years.

Although I know that the upcoming holidays will be hard without my grandmother here, I am looking forward to sharing more memories of her with my family when we come home to visit and creating new memories in the years to come.

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