Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bad News

I have been away from blogging for a week or so due to the deaths of both of my grandfathers.

On Sunday morning (9/6), my paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 74. He had congestive heart failure, and occasionally had heart trouble, but this just happened all of a sudden and was quite shocking. My grandmother is a regular reader of this blog, so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. They were married for 54 years.

Then, as I was preparing to take a trip back home for the funeral services, I found out on Sunday night that my maternal grandfather, Clifford Robert DROUILLARD, was not doing too well either. I knew he had been in the hospital at least twice since July for pneumonia and that they had found lung cancer, but I didn't realize that he was going to go so quickly. He was in Canada, so I was not able to see him over the last two months. I last saw him in June, when I was in Michigan for my uncle's funeral. Therefore, I only got updates from my mom, who got them from my aunts in Michigan. I had made it back to my parent's house in southwest Louisiana by Monday afternoon, and my aunt came and told us on Monday night (9/7) that he had died about 9 p.m. in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He was 77.

It's just very weird because I had all four grandparents alive at this time last year. I went from having all four alive down to having one alive.

One good thing about my maternal grandmother's death (in December 2008) was that it got my grandfather (Cliff) talking to me about how they met. I had always heard from family members that he was best friends with her first husband, John Peter PEMBERTON, who died in 1970. According to Pippi, he was actually friends with my grandmother, Violet, first. They worked together in the '60's at the Prestolite factory in Port Huron, Michigan. He was a driver and she worked on the assembly line. He said he flirted with all the ladies on the assembly line, and he had a crush on my grandmother, but he was married and so were most of them, including my grandmother. He said that one day she told him to come over to her house on Stone Street to meet her husband and kids. She said he would know what house it was because there would be a lot of kids playing in the yard (she had 8 kids!). He said he took a 6 pack of beer on a Saturday and drove around the Stone Street neighborhood but couldn't remember the address. So on Monday, he said, "You almost had a visitor this weekend, but I couldn't remember which house it was." So she invited him and his wife to go bowling with her and John Peter and some of their friends that week. From then on, he became friends with John Peter too. He said that one day John Peter told him that he knew Violet and the kids would be okay if anything happened to him because he knew that he (Cliff) would take care of them. I think John Peter must have known by this time that Pippi had a crush on Mimi. Sure enough, in 1970, at the age of 41, John Peter died of lung cancer, leaving my grandmother with 6 minor children to raise. Mimi and Pippi married two years later in 1972.

Although I have lost three grandparents in nine months, I am very thankful to have my paternal grandmother alive. She says she is not going anywhere anytime soon, and I believe she is probably right. She is really tough and independent and very sharp. She's also very hip because she uses email, has a Facebook account, and leaves comments on my blog. I think I'm the only one of my friends whose grandmother has a Facebook account. She even uses her Facebook account. Oh, and she's also very creative!!

One thing I didn't realize fully before this week was how like my paternal grandfather I am. We were going through his files where he kept his bills and insurance policies and such, and I realized that that must be where I get my organization skills from. Of course, before I met my fiance, I never realized that I was particularly more organized than anyone else. My fiance's file box consists of a large pile of papers with no file folders. Scary!! I know that I didn't get the organization skills from my maternal grandparents because we are still searching for their original wills (I have no clue why the lawyer did not keep the originals). My maternal grandmother was ALWAYS losing things. My maternal grandfather lost his birth certificate after he got to Canada in May, although I know I gave it to him when we were going through my grandmother's things after she died in December.

Anyhow, I will quit rambling for now.


  1. Jennifer

    My condolences on your loss this past week - two grandparents so close together is really tough. Thanks for letting us know more about each of your grandparents and what they meant to you.

  2. Jennifer, you have my sympathies. In 1997 I lost my mom and one week later my husband lost his dad. It's almost more than you can comprehend at one time. But I pray you'll have peace and comfort thru all this. You wrote a wonderful post here. Thank you and blessings to you!

  3. So sorry to hear about your losses. My thoughts are with you.

  4. Deep sympathies to you in your losses. I appreciate the article you wrote and congrats to your grandmother for being so "Hip!"

  5. It's been a rough year for you and your family, Jennifer--sorry for your many losses.

  6. My condolences, Jennifer. It's so hard to lose people you love. All of them knew you'll keep their memories alive because you love family history. It's your way of paying wonderful tributes to their lives.

  7. My condolences on your losses. Your love for your grandparents is so apparent, and your writing about them is a wonderful tribute.

  8. Hi, everyone! Thanks for your condolences. I'm glad you guys really liked the post.

  9. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. Sorry for your recent losses.

  10. I'm so sorry you lost them both and in such a short time.

  11. My deepest sympathies. You are in my thoughts.

  12. I'm sorry for your losses - and especially that you had more than one in swift succession.
    My prayers are with you,

  13. I know it's been a little while but my prayers go with you. I'm sorry for your loss.

    I lost all my grandparents while I was in my young to mid 20's. We lived over 1500 miles away from both sets so I wasn't able to get to them in time for the funerals. Unfortunately, my wife and kids never got to know them. I miss them every day and wish I had some stories that I could pass on to my kids such as how they met, etc.

    Luckily, my wife's grandmothers are both alive. Her grandmother had a stroke almost 10 years ago. She's one strong lady. She had to go through the death of her husband while not being able to do anything about it or vocalize because she lost the ability to speak.

    Believe me, I make sure my kids spend time with their grandparents and great-grandmothers every chance they get. Those are memories that will last forever!

    Thank you for the story about them meeting. I loved it!