I sit here today writing what is without question the most difficult thing I have ever had to share with you. This morning, my beautiful and loving mother Sipora Groen passed away peacefully in her home in Florida. She was the most remarkable person I’ve ever known. Her love of life was inspirational to everyone who knew her. When my father died 10 years ago, my mother lost her partner in life of more than 60 years. She mourned him when he left her and remembered her for the remainder of her life, but rather than let her life wither away she reinvented herself and lived a full life till the very end.
I started Holland’s Heroes to honor those whose strength and character helped keep the Jewish people alive after the devastation of the Holocaust. There were soldiers that fought the Germans, member of the resistance such as my father who battled the evil whenever possible, the martyrs murdered by the Nazis, and the survivors that rebuilt their world. No one exemplified that last group better than my mother. With the loss of her father, brother, fiance and either running and hiding from the Nazis or witnessing their evil for close to 5 years, my mother, together with my father, the man who helped her through that awful time, went on to build a new life rich with 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
My mother lost her mother when she was a young child of 13 and with the war and its horrors of 5 years lived a life filled with the saddest and most terrifying of memories. Despite all of that she was a woman filled with joy, enthusiasm, optimism, and most of all, love. But she was also a woman who slept with nightmares. She experienced everything life had to offer with the exception of one thing, and that was what she is finally experiencing today, as the nightmares end, and that is the peace she deserves so much.
Sipora Groen was loved by everyone who knew her, being called Mom and Oma by countless people who were thrilled to have her in their lives. What I and my siblings have lost today can never be replaced, as God has opened up his doors for the angel that is my mother. I have been so truly blessed to have the love and to have loved this wonderful woman, and today this world has lost a true hero.
In the past 10 years she has enjoyed most of what her life had to offer, always missing just one thing, and that was the man she loved, my father, Nardus Groen. Today they are reunited and my Mom is finally at peace. I love you Mom and always will.
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