Grandpa

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My grandfather had a stroke last Friday. And when a 102-year-old man has a stroke, you start making funeral plans.

When Mom told me the news, it somehow didn’t seem urgent. He may be winding down, I thought. But surely, surely he won’t die for a few more months yet. I always kinda thought he’d live to see 103, the same age his mother was when she died. Or perhaps he’d hold out for 104, just to beat her record.

But Aunt Rebecca said he’s not eating, and can only drink a little water from a sponge. His kidneys will shut down before long.

Mom and I made the decision to go to Minnesota, to see him at least one last time, and to help with comfort care. So that’s where I am, today. Sitting in the Kansas City airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Minnesota.

Aunt Rebecca said that when Grandpa heard we were coming, he said “Ich bin froh us see komma,” which means “I am glad they are coming.” It was his first clear sentence since his stroke.

It’s hard to process my feelings right now. At 102, no one can deny that it’s probably about his time. Still, maybe he’ll hang on, yet? It feels too early to grieve.

This is a strange, fragmented blog post. I’m sorry. But I feel a littleĀ strange, and fragmented.

5 responses to “Grandpa

  1. Well, know what you are feeling is completely normal and you are not alone. My grandma was 92 …oh, wait, almost 92…when my folks got the call that she had not opened her curtains that morning, and apparently she had been ill and dragged herself into her chair, where she had the stroke and remained until she was found. She died a few days later, never having regained consciousness.
    Strokes are so unpredictable. The fact that your grandpa spoke is a good sign. that you get to say goodbye (perhaps) and teil him again that you love him, and that you get to serve him and hold him one more time (or maybe dozens) is such a blessing. Any one of us can go at any time. We know this, but we don’t know it. Some say long farewells, some never get to say goodbye at all. But it’s always too soon. It always hurts. Makes every day more precious, and the fact that our Savior died for us and made a way for death to only be a “see you later” and not a forever goodbye, all the more precious….

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  2. Thelma Lanteigne

    Strange and fragmented at a time like this is completely normal. And it’s not too soon to grieve. Goodbyes are hard whether the one you are saying goodbye to is 2 or 102. You said that it seems too early to grieve. It’s okay to grieve. My Dad declined for 9 months as we waited for news that could come any day. I grieved every day of that 9 months and every day since his passing last October. There is no right or wrong path to grief. Prayers for you on this journey.

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  3. Understandable feels, for what you are going through. Glad you could go with your mother! I remember when he would bring his family to Kalona, and visit our church. Praying for your family during this journey.

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  4. Our church has had eight funerals since April 1. Recently, after the seventh funeral was planned, I met your grandpa’s brother in town. He told me (as I recall) “I have never seen the likes, so many funerals, and four Sundays in a row. But I guess we take it like it comes.” I think those consecutive Sunday funerals included at least one that wasn’t from our church.

    Since that conversation “Johhy Junior” as we call him has turned 96, but still seems pretty spry.

    It’s easy for me to remember when your grandpa turned 100, because Henry Schrock told me at my father’ visitation that that day was Amos Yoder’s 100th birthday. I leaned later that Henry and Elizabeth were going to go to the birthday party but stayed home instead, because of my Dad’s funeral. Elizabeth and Dad were first cousins and age-mates.

    May God grant grace and peace to you and the rest of the family in this difficult season. LRM

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  5. I am holding you in my thoughts and prayers. I am also so glad you are spending time with your grandpa. Peace and grace to you and your family.

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