Friday, December 02, 2005


Recently, my friends' father passed away. I met him once when I traveled with my dear friend to the warm state of AZ for Thanksgiving vacation one year. It was a very odd Turkey Day for a South Dakotan. We ate our holiday meal outside, in shorts. Anyway, my roomates father was this energetic, funny, busy man who really made me feel welcome into his home. I just found out that he was recently moved to a nursing home and was diagnosed with alzheimers.
Several months ago, my grandfather moved in with us. He wasn't doing well after a stroke and his living options were narrowed to the retirement home or the hospital. He, fortunately, had very loving children who were able to care for him, and my husband and I had the empty space. So, after 6 very, quick weeks of construction, he was able to move in. He had been diagnosed several years before with alzheimers. He lived with us until May, when he died, peacefully, surrounded by his daughters. He was a totally different person those last few months. It was difficult to watch him change. I was surprised at the rapid decline of his cogntive abilities. Soon, he was unable to walk, to feed himself, to use the restroom. Not having the ability to communicate with him was the hardest for me. The morning he died there were two rainbows in the sky. We decided that it represented Grandma coming to get Grandpa. My three year old still talks about the rainbows, and everytime she sees one she thinks of Great Grandpa. When we had our goodbye service for Grandpa we let several mulitcolored balloons go into the blue sky as a reminder of those special rainbows that God sent on the day Grandpa died.
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