Remembering Our Blessings

I was very blessed to have a grandpa who was present. Not just around, but really and truly present. 8 years ago he went to be with Jesus. I found this tribute in my old Facebook posts and felt it good to share it here as well. May we all live life well and leave such a beautiful legacy behind.

 

Lewis William Carl Sr.

Born November 15, 1934
Died November 9, 2007

7 children
25 Grandchildren
7 Great Grandchildren

As of 2015 his legacy has grown to 29 Great Grandchildren,  with 4 more on the way!



Grandpa married Grandma when she was 16-he was 19.
Grandpa served in the US Army for two years.
After the Army, he worked up to three jobs at a time, sometimes getting only a few hours of sleep a night. He did this to provide for his 7 growing children.

As a Grandpa he excelled. He took us fishing. He gave us “airplane” rides around the house, using the coffee table as a runway, and making airplane noises as we flew around corners. He took us with him when he went dowsing for water. We had many good talks on those trips, and many good memories of Grandpa telling people about how Jesus is the Living Water, and He put the water in the ground. Grandpa told us stories. Many stories. Stories of how God brought him through the most amazing circumstances in miraculous ways. Tuberculosis. Snake bite. Difficulties in the Army. Hardships at home and work. Stories of his growing up years on the farm. Grandpa will probably be remembered best though, by his jokes. Oh he could dish them out for hours. We grew up hearing about how to catch a unique rabbit, and also a tame one. Being told we were a “cool kid” because we weren’t wearing shoes when it was cold, or our hands were cold. Laughing at him as he grinned and said “Well, if I behaved, you wouldn’t recognize me.” in response to Grandma’s outcry at too many jokes for one day.
Oh the memories that flood in- running down the sidewalk as fast as we could as he left so he could clock our speed on his speedometer. He would yell it out the window as he turned the corner, and oh how we would beam with pride that we had kept up with a van… 15 miles an hour must be really fast! Grandpa would come over during his grocery shopping trips just to drop off candy and see how we were doing. We would sit on the porch swing munching on cookies or candy as he would tell his stories yet again.
Even as he lay dying, his ornery spirit showed itself alive and well. We would hold his hand, and if our hands were cold, we heard the familiar, “ooh, you’re a cool kid!” sometimes coupled with a big smile if he could handle it. We would laugh and say, “It’s a good thing you’re still being ornery! We might not be able to recognize you if you were behaving.” Oh how he would grin when we said that. Grandpa’s fighting spirit came out strong during his last days. Always a bit of a rebel, Grandpa would always have a piece of cake (preferably a big one) with ice cream on the side in spite of diabetes. Even when his eyesight was too poor to be driving, he hid it as well as possible-he loved his freedom! Sadly, that freedom ended when he passed out at the wheel, probably because of diabetes or low blood pressure. He was admitted to the hospital, where they discovered he also had a slight case of dementia. Grandma revealed that for quite a while he would forget how to get to certain places he knew very well, and sometimes get confused and forget basic things. This became evident to us soon, as he would forget where things were in his own house, and would sometime draw a blank at first when we walked in the room- he had to think hard to remember who we were. After the hospital he was taken to a elderly-rehab type place (the name escapes me) unfortunately the doctor’s notes somehow did not all reach them, so they didn’t know Grandpa was diabetic! He didn’t get insulin for 3 days, and his blood sugar went wild. After this he was taken home for a few days, but he deteriorated quickly. His heart was really weak, and his balance severely impaired. He tried walking around the house with out a walker, and fell a few times. The last fall had knocked him on the head, giving him a big welt and bruise. Since he wasn’t able to get up on his own, and Grandma sure couldn’t help him, he was taken to a nursing home, where he was taken care of quite well. He was stubborn and had a fighting spirit. He would not lay in that bed and let his wife stay at home by herself. They had to put an alarm on his bed so that when he would try to get up the nurse would come running. He hated that place. They took good care of him, but he wanted to live, wanted to be with his wife, and the dementia didn’t help things either. We would explain everything to him, only for him to fall asleep in the middle of our explanation, and wake up five minutes later crying out that he was leaving and you’d better help him out of here. He was holding water badly, and his lungs were beginning to fill up. His condition was to the point on Tuesday of this week he was taken to the ICU at Community in Springfield. Tests revealed his kidneys were failing, his liver was being damaged, and his heart was shutting down. They put him on two medications to help his heart keep going steadily, and to help his body get rid of the fluid. The heart medicine worked, but his kidneys were too far gone. They failed on Wednesday afternoon. We spent as much time as we could with him, because he would sleep at random times, but occasionally he would wake up and be lucid, talking with us for a few minutes or a half an hour- we never knew what to expect. Thursday morning they took him off of medications and put him on morphine for the pain-there was nothing more to do-his body was shutting down.
On Thursday night, all his children were there with him, as well as a bunch of his grandkids. Grandpa woke up perky and smiling, joking with us and smiling for pictures. He stayed awake for a few hours total-with small cat naps thrown in. It was a precious time-and a gift from God. All this excitement wore him out, and about 10PM I needed to go home. Grandpa was sleeping, and I thought I could say goodnight and give him a kiss, then slip out without waking him-I didn’t want him to see me leave. Well, I whispered goodnight and kissed him, but as I started to turn to go, he woke up, eyes wide. I leaned back down and said “Goodbye Grandpa, I love you” and gave him another kiss on the cheek-but to my surprise he returned my kiss, and said “I love you too, Jessica”. That is the last thing Grandpa said to me directly. I came back the next morning, Friday morning. Grandpa was sleeping soundly to morphine, but his heart had slowed to 70 BPM. When we talked to him his snores would change, and his heart rate would climb for a minute. So we talked to him. about mid afternoon-3 or so, his heart rate was about 60, but I needed to run back to Cedarville at 4. So I left for a bit-my cousin would call me if there was a sudden change. At 5PM she called me, saying his HR had dipped to down in the 20’s and was now at about 40. She said to hurry, she wasn’t sure if he would last much longer. Josh prayed with me on his way out to the programming competition, and I drove back as quickly as possible. Thank God there was a truck in front of me going the speed limit the whole way- it was a nice restraint. The whole way there I was crying out to God that Grandpa would hang on for me to get there. When I arrived, his HR was still at 40, and the family was singing hymns around his bed. Not all of Grandpa’s sons were there yet-two were still on their way. We kept singing, it helped to calm our hearts, and I think Grandpa liked hearing it too-his heart rate would stay up while we sang, and then when we stopped it would go down 5 points. The two missing children arrived, and we kept singing. At about 7 his HR dropped and fluctuated from 40 down to the 20’s. Then it stayed in the 20’s for a few minutes. It was hard to watch the numbers change, not knowing what would happen next, or how long it would take. At ten til 8 we started singing Blessed Assurance, and watched the numbers drop to the teens, then 8, 6-and then -?- the monitor couldn’t find a heart beat. Grandpa died just as we finished the last verse to Blessed Assurance.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
(Refrain)

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love

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