Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Thursday, May 3, 2012


My 99 year old grandfather is in the hospital again, and his prognosis is not good.  He has an autoimmune blood disease, and then has had complications from the medicine and from a prologed hospital stay.  Currently he is being treated for CDIFF (an intestinal bacterial infection), low blood sugar (from the steroids he's on to treat the blood disease), and is very confused.  He hasn't known my Dad the past few times he's been in to visit with him. 

I feel sad for myself, of course.  But I also hurt for my Dad.  I want him to be able to have a real good-bye with my Pap.  I want my grandfather to die in his own room, surrounded by the people he loves.  I don't want him to die this way - confused and in the hospital. 

I also hurt for my kids.  They love him.  They appreciate his humor and they look forward to his stories.  I've talked to them about him being so sick.  I've tried to prepare them, but this will be the first person they love to die.  I suppose you can't ever really prepare anyone for that.  How do you help your kids, and father mourn while still mourning yourself? 

Pap on his 99th birthday. 
My Pap and I talk a lot about our family history.  With every story he tells I realize how much of the farmer in me comes from my ancestors.  I come from a long line (we can trace back to the 1720s in Pennsylvania) of farmers.  It's in my blood and in my heart.  I know that he'll be in my heart forever.  But still, letting go is hard.  I get my humor from his as well.  Here is a poem he taught to my kids.

A Teddy Bear sleeps in his little bear skin.
He sleeps very well I am told.
One night I slept in my bare skin.
Brrr..  all I got was cold.

I love you Pap!

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