Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Grandpa

imageCarroll Ray D____

2/23/23 - 10/11/11


If I were to point to any human person as a hero to me personally, I would have to choose my grandpa. I remember spending summers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and the fun we used to have. We did plenty of playing in the house, but we also had great fun outside with Grandpa. He had a terrific garden, a barn full of all sorts of “treasures,” and their close proximity to a lake inlet only added to the charm of their house. I remember him taking my brother and I fishing on the lake or exploring one of the small islands in the bay. Sometimes we would go hiking in the woods, other times we’d help him in his garden or help get the firewood stacked in the basement through the small basement window. On summer evenings we would sit on their front porch and Grandpa would play his guitar or saw (Grandma would play her accordion) and we’d sing while watching the sun set over the lake or the lightning play tag with itself. Once when we were visiting, a small tornado came quite close to their house while we stood watching from the barn door. The transformer across the house blew from the force, but because Grandpa was there with us, we weren’t afraid.

Grandpa had such an upbeat personality, loved everyone, and had a great sense of humor. He would often remark at mealtimes, “My stomach’s beginning to think my throat’s been cut” and at the end of the meal he’d comment,“It’s a good thing I ate when I did because now I’m not hungry.” He also claimed he would never retire, only retread.

He was a hard worker and in his later years (after many years as a colporteur), he did a lot with his hands (carpentry, plumbing, etc.). Sometimes his hammer would miss the intended target and he’d smash his thumb or finger. Every time, after the pain had subsided some, he would say something to the effect that he was glad he had a thumb to hit. He tried to find the positive in everything, definitely a “glass is half full” kinda guy.

In the autumn of his life he and Grandma (and my great grandma who was living with them) went to live near my folks. It wasn’t too long after moving there that Great Grandma and then Grandma closed their eyes for the last time (till the resurrection). Not too long after that Grandpa started showing signs of Alzheimer's, becoming more and more forgetful. During one winter ice storm he forgot that Mom had told him to stay inside and went out on the porch to take his little dog potty. He slipped and broke his collar bone. The bone jutted out into his skin and never healed together and he seemed a bit subconscious about it. Unfortunately there was nothing that the docs could do about it in its location. Finally my parents moved him into their house to provide better supervision.

It’s been so hard to seem him slide into decrepit  old age. He was always so strong, but his last few years he’s been getting weaker and more feeble. Recently my parents made the decision to place him in a nursing home so he could be monitored 24/7. Ironically, less than two full days after he was admitted, he fell and broke his hip (or broke his hip and fell, not sure which). He went through surgery for that (replacing the ball part of his femur), but he had some complications after the surgery (aspiration pneumonia, food from feeding tube not assimilating…). He was in much pain and weakening. My mom and sister finally decided that it was time for hospice care. He was kept on morphine most of the time to handle the pain.

This morning around 1:00 a.m., he stopped breathing and fell asleep in Jesus. I’m sad that such a great man is no longer in this world, but I am glad that he’s not in any more pain or discomfort and the next conscious thought that he has will be Jesus coming to wake him up and take us all home. “Grandpa, it’s not ‘good-bye’, it’s ‘see you soon!’”

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