Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For my Oma

For my Oma, Ingeborg,

Two years ago today, I had to say good-bye to my grandmother, my Oma.  For those of you who have never heard me speak of her before, Oma is German for grandma.

When we were young, she took care of my brother and I when we were too sick to go to school.  She often took us to our baseball and softball events after school.  During the summer, we would spend a lot of time at her house.  I met wonderful friends through her and swam in the neighbor's pool.  My first time riding the "light rail" was with her, as well as my first time on a bus that broke down.  A boy in her neighborhood gave me my first kiss, and oh did that cause problems.  Hehe.  My brother and I would make forts out of blankets, chairs, and other furniture throughout her house.  This was all before we moved to Texas for high school.

When we returned to California after high school, older, and supposedly wiser, I lived with her for a short time.  I broke her heart for a bit when I moved out.  I didn't spend as much time with her as I should have.  It was inconvenient and visiting with her was so boring.  She always wanted to pry into my life and know all the little details and it drove me crazy.  I don't blame her.  It isn't like I made an effort to tell her much.  I didn't see or understand how much pleasure she got out of just having us stop by to say "hi."

Then I grew up a bit more and I moved an hour away.  Suddenly, it wasn't such an inconvenience to see her when I was in town.  I began to notice how she enjoyed just the little things my brother and I did.  We would go to her house and eat this horrible little microwave pizzas she would keep in the freezer because she thought we loved them.  We weren't particularly fond of them, but it made her happy.

In the last few years, we made it a point to take her out to eat because we couldn't be sure she was eating enough at home.  Leatherby's.  Crab sandwiches and chocolate shakes.  Macaroni grill.  Grilled salmon and asparagus.  Oh how that woman loved her salmon.  Strings.  Italian deliciousness.  And of course, champagne brunch...with wasabi...a story for another time.

But all things must come to an end.  She lost some weight...and then she lost some more weight.  Then she stopped traveling and we knew something was up.  She lost more weight, and ended up in the hospital.  She came out of the hospital just to go right back in a short time later.  Then we got the news she wouldn't be with us much longer.  We took shifts, my parents, my brother and I.   We all had work and my brother and I had school on top of it.  My job was so kind.  I took almost a week off work with no hassles.

She was unconscious.  Infection raged through her system.  I sat with her and watched football while doing homework, talking to her about school and my husband who sat with me most of the time too.  At first we switched off, taking turns to go home and sleep.  The last couple days, I refused to leave.  I didn't want to miss "it."  Sometimes I wish I had.

And `then she started to move.  My mom and husband were with me.  We thought she might be in pain, but the nurse just told us it was close.  We called in dad and my brother.  We tried not to cry.  We didn't want her to worry about us.  We held her hands as she took her last breath.  The nurse checked her heart and told us she was gone...and then the tears came.

We were sad to see her go, but we were glad she was happier now that she could be with Opa again.  I was sad she couldn't stay to see her future grandchildren, but I am glad she got to meet my wonderful husband.  We are sad she doesn't get to join us at the holidays anymore, but she left us with wonderful memories of fighting over the thermostat.  I am sad she isn't here to see what I am doing with my life, but I know she would be proud of who I am today.

Oma, I love you and I hope you are resting in peace with Opa at your side and I know I will see you again one day.

Love always, your granddaughter,