Grandpa Duane

One week ago, my family lost my grandpa Duane.  At 90 years old, his body was done.  90 years of hard work, farm life, and a never quit attitude is hard on a body.  While at his funeral, the pastor made reference to the Guillain Barre Syndrome that he contracted in the 80s.  It causes paralysis that starts in the feet and legs and works its way toward the chest and arms.  It can be fatal if it reaches the lungs and heart, but thankfully it was caught before that for my grandpa.  However, the results left him without feeling in his hands and feet, which caused other problems for him.  He often couldn't feel heat or cold effects, so he suffered burns and frostbite several times.  He also had cuts get infected because of his lack of feeling, so he lost toes.  This syndrome mixed with diabetes created difficulties with simple tasks like dressing and eating, but he never quit.  He found ways to deal with the challenges of life, which in turn taught his grandkids and great-grandkids a valuable lesson about life: when life hands you lemons, make something sweet! (He had a tremendous sweet tooth...another great thing for a diabetic!)

Ironically, he was buried on my grandma's birthday.  It was really the best time, as he missed my grandma so very much after her death.  They had such a sweet love story, and I can remember staying at their house and him calling for her to come to bed.  She'd be fussing with something, getting us settled and what not, and he'd call for her.  Even when she got sick and her memory slipped in and out, he would visit her everyday in the nursing home.  He never quit, even when I could tell that it hurt him when she had bad days. I think many of us thought that he'd go sooner than he did because he missed her so much, but he held on.  I am blessed that my kids got to know him and love him the way that they did.  I wish we had been closer and could visit more often, but I know that my kids were blessed to know a great grandparent for as long as they did.

I miss him, but I know that he is better off in no pain, and he can be with his true love again.  Thinking of them happy and together makes me smile.

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