Thursday, October 13, 2011

Granddaddy's Battle

My Granddaddy is an amazing man of God. That amazing man of God is fighting his last days with Alzheimer’s disease. Momma called me this morning to let me know he was unresponsive and that it his battle with this horrible disease would not last much longer.

So today, my mind has been full of memories of Granddaddy. He has always had a wit and charm that made him easy to be around. His twinkling blue eyes held an equal portion of mischief and love. I see that same look in Josiah’s eyes at times. Titus is named for my Grandfather, Titus Simon. Simon is my Grandfather’s name. It is my prayer that my sons grow to be men of faith like my Granddaddy.

All of my memories of Granddaddy have some aspect of his faith in action. He and my Granny were married for 65 years. She went to be with the Lord this past May. Their marriage was a great testimony to the longevity of love. Granddaddy also served as a deacon for 60 years. He has spent his life loving his family and serving the Lord. Which is why watching him suffer through Alzheimer’s disease just seems so wickedly unfair.

Within a Christian world view, I know that this is only one of many ways that mankind feels the effect of the fall. It is part of the suffering that we must struggle through in this life. The suffering is never without purpose.

I think Alzheimer’s is in a special league of evil all of its own. I can think of few other illnesses that destroy with such a disregard to one’s identity. It affects not only the individual with the disease, but also the family. We suffer along with our loved one. My sweet Grandfather is a shell of the man that he used to be. Alzheimer’s has ravaged his mind, and now his body, in a way that has been so difficult to watch. Granddaddy has suffered for years with the disease. Over the past few months, he has had a significant decline. So much so, that he needs 24 hour medical care.

One of the last times I was with him, I was so saddened at his decline in health. He was confused and anxious, unable to rest or even sit still for more than a minute. At one point he had a bad moment and began yelling. This was uncharacteristic for my grandfather. I don’t ever remember him yelling while I was growing up. After he collected himself he apologized then began to go outside to walk. Before he left, He stopped in the doorway and prayed. The prayer he spoke was amazing; the Holy Spirit was evident as words of scripture and repentance poured out of my grandfather. That was the man I knew, that was the Granddaddy I remember from my childhood, always praying for restoration and healing, Praying blessings on his children, grand children and great grandchildren. It was amazing hearing the words of a man whose mind was full of confusion speak with clarity and hope. It was demonstration that the Holy Spirit was still alive and active in my grandfather.

The nursing home staff has also commented on the character of my Grandfather. A nurse told my sister that she could tell he was a man of faith by his actions. She told of how he would roll his wheelchair into other patient’s rooms and pray for them. She said a baby could not pass by that he would not lay his hands on and pray a blessing upon them. As much as he could, he would try to bless the other residents as he helped the nurses pass out medication. What an incredible testimony of a man who struggled in so many ways still try to demonstrate the Love of Jesus as he served his last days on Earth.
Now I await a phone call letting me know my grandfather has entered into heaven. My heart is so heavy knowing he will no longer be here. But it is with great joy that I look forward to him being with his Savior. He has suffered for so long, His body has struggled with illness for years. What a blessing to know his body and mind will be restored and he will be with the Lord whom he loved and served his whole life.

One of Grand daddy’s favorite hymns was Amazing Grace. The words are a gentle salve to my heart ache of losing him.

“Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.”


Steven and Candi Manning said...

I can so relate to how you feel in terms of how awful dementia is on the individual and family; there's such comfort in knowing your grandfather will be with Jesus and at peace soon. He sounds like such a wonderful man!

Heather said...

Praying. What a blessing to have the peace and assurance that he will soon be with Jesus. And that you'll see your grandfather free of disease and age again soon.

Harriet Oliff said...

Thanks for posting. What a blessing to have such a man of faith as a grandfather. Many generations will be blessed through his faith.

It has been an interesting trip with all that Daddy has been through. I have had a chance to see him in a different light and appreciate him more. Alzheimer's victims are definitely among "the least of these". God has a special place in heaven for their caregivers (like my Mom).