Thursday, April 3, 2008

Some Favorite Memories

I was just a grandson-in-law, but I knew him as Grandpa Duane, not as Jack or John or anything else. In fact, I knew him almost as long as I knew my own grandfathers. Some of my favorite memories of him were...
  • He was always smiling and joking, no matter what. I don't think I ever saw him truly angry or upset.
  • He never treated me as an outsider, I had "family status" from day 1 with him, and always felt welcome and comfortable at his house.
  • He had a story for every situation. They weren't always "believable", but he would swear they were true, and his kids would back him up.
  • He had such a strong emphasis on his family; everything else was secondary.
  • Watching him with his great-grandchildren. When the kids were there, his face lit up and there was no other place he would rather be.
  • He and uncle Greg took me in as their hunting buddy. I never actually got to hunt with my own grandfathers, so this was special to me.
  • When we went deer hunting, he always wanted to leave extra early so we could eat breakfast at that little diner in Dansville. Even though we only made it down there a few times a year with him, he always knew the waitresses by name, and they knew him as well.
  • Heading outside during family functions to hang out with him and the uncles (and some of the aunts) to smoke a cigar and have a drink.
  • Sunday morning breakfast at his house was always mayhem, with 4 generations of family running around.
  • I'm sure his birth certificate was wrong, and his middle name really was Rumpelstiltskin.

Monday, March 31, 2008

God blessed my Grandpa today

My Grandfather told my Uncle that he did not want to pass away without seeing my cousin awarded with his Eagle Scout which was not supposed to happen until June. So, they put together a ceremony just for our family in my Grandfather's living room. It was at 3 today and when I was on my way my Dad called to tell me that if I wanted to see my Grandfather alive I needed to be sure to come today. When I got there we told the kids that Grandpa was sleeping because his breathing was so labored. We had the ceremony and it was beautiful, but hard to get through. My Grandpa passed away about 20 minutes after the ceremony ended. We all knew it was happening (my mom and my uncle are both RN's) and we all were gathered around the bed and I was blessed to be able to hold my Grandma and I heard her pray for God to take him so he wouldn't suffer anymore. It was so sad, hard and wonderful at the same time. He didn't suffer, he did exactly what he wanted and went quickly after the ceremony, and all of the in-town family was there around the bed. The kids, my girls and my brother's sons, played happily in the background wonderfully ignorant of everything, but adding so much to everyone's heart.

Just after he passed my Grandma stepped outside for a minute and a sudden burst of wind sent "angel dust" down on her. She is convinced that it was Grandpa throwing snow at her to let her know that he was in heaven. I will miss my Grandpa, he was one of the most important people in my life. I am proud of the life he lived and all that I learned from him. Our concern now is for my Grandma who pointed out a number of times today that this is the first time she has ever lived alone having lived with Grandpa longer than her parents. Please pray for my family, especially my Grandma.

Thanks to you all.