Nathan doesn't say too much or ask many questions. He is more reserved, quiet. I just know when he's thinking of great-grandpa. At Grandpa's viewing Nathan wanted to see Grandpa, leave Grandpa's hat in the casket with him.
Larissa cries. Larissa always cries to show her emotions. Happy, sad, frustrated, Larissa cries. Larissa wanted to look from afar. She thought Grandpa's casket looked like a very big treasure chest. She smiled with tears in her eyes when she realized it kind of was, with a very big treasure inside of it.
Bethany, well, she talks, asks questions, and then goes about her day as though she hasn't heard anything you've just said. Then, when you think she's completely forgotten about everything that's happened she's asking more questions that have come from the answers she was given an hour or more ago. There is never a question that she is afraid to ask.We would tell Bethany that the part of Granpda that made him Grandpa would not be at the funeral, just his body would be there. Will his head be there? We didn't think of the literal aspects, that takes a four year old! Where were his legs and feet? (in the closed part of the casket) Why couldn't he feel her touch? (he is dead) Why did his eyes get glued shut? (that was thanks to her uncle who got technical in the process of what happened to Granpda after he died because she apparently already knew what happened to Granpda's spirit) If Grandpa lives with Jesus and Jesus lives in my heart does that mean Granpda lives in my heart too? I think Bethany touched every inch of skin that she could reach. She would stroke Grandpa's hands, poke his cheek, touch his chin. Touch is very important to Bethany.
Ron gave a tribute at the funeral, his words are better than mine. Grandpa D, afterall, was his Grandpa. Here it is.
Our lives all come to an end at a time that we don’t get to choose. What we do get to choose is how we live our lives and how we treat others. The legacy that Grandpa has left will stick with us for a long time. He was a true man of God that was a living example of how we should live our lives.
My siblings and I spent some time over Christmas telling stories about Grandpa. I think my brother summed it up best. “Grandpa was a wise and kind man and when he said something, I knew I should remember it”. He usually said very little, just sat in his brown checkered rocking chair with a smile on his face taking it all in. He rarely showed any emotion other than looking pleased with us grandchildren. I never saw him angry or even looking frustrated although I’m sure he had opportunity or reason to at some time. Anyone remember the smell of that melting plastic boat on the woodstove downstairs while we were having supper? I do!
He was always interested in our lives, both when we were young and in school and later when we had kids ourselves. He came to countless choir concerts at MCI and grads. There were also countless band concerts by all the grandchildren in the living room at Christmas and Easter that were a prerequisite before any presents could be opened. He always asked about our kids and always looked quite pleased to hold another great-grandchild in his arms for the first time. I think he came out to Rivers nearly every harvest since his last harvest in Lowe Farm to have a ride in the combine and was always interested in our crops. Did you know that this summer yet, Grandpa went to the local MLA to tell him how they should solve the CWB debate that has raged all summer and fall! He still read the Co-operator up to a few years ago and there was always a FreePress and Time magazine in his apartment so we could always have a discussion about farming or US presidential politics.
Grandpa always struck me as being a progressive thinker. He was ready to move out of his house sooner than when he “needed to”. How many people of my generation can brag about their 80 year old grandfather learning to use a computer. I feel so sorry for the adult ed teacher that taught him about computers here in town. Although he was a progressive thinker, there was nothing fast about Grandpa except for how he took his naps. 10 minute naps were not uncommon and my dad remembers timing one nap at exactly 3 minutes and him waking up and stretching like he had just slept for an hour! Grandpa did everything slowly and carefully. Before we could eat breakfast during a sleep-over, Grandpa would do devotions out of the Rejoice devotional book. It took him forever to find the correct date, thumb through his Bible (this one that fell off the roof of his car into a puddle on the way to church) for the correct Scripture passage and then S L O W L Y read the devotional. That would then be followed by an extremely long prayer and then we could eat.
The chicken at family gatherings when Grandpa cooked often looked suspiciously like the fried chicken that was being served at Chicken Chef that day. A few of us were sent to Chicken Chef to pick up supper one evening. We announced that we were there for the chicken for Grandpa Dueck, and we promptly left without even thinking about paying and they never said anything. I’m sure he settled up with them the next day at coffee as he seemed to be on a first name basis with everyone there.
One thing that I found fascinating about Grandpa, as did at least one of his great-kids, was his experience as a Concientious Objector. Just last week, I saw copies of his correspondence from the Canadian government ordering his appearance in court to make his case for why he would not serve in the army during WWII and then his instructions on how to get to BC on the train to the work camp. How many of us have had such a test of faith where we needed to be extremely resolute and confident in our faith in Christianity and in our stance on peace.
Hopefully, all of us grandkids can carry on the legacy passed on to us by Grandpa. A legacy of wisdom, kindess, slow to speak, slow to anger and a love of Christian service.