My Oma

Nothing is quite comparable to the sinking feeling associated with hearing the grievous news of a loved one who has passed away. The unexpected words can compose a sense of shock and even disbelief. I got such words on the night of Tuesday, March 5th, 2018. God bless my older brother for being the one burdened to bear that message. No doubt that couldn’t have been easy.

My Oma (Oma is German for grandma, if you didn’t know) is whom the bad news was about.

My Oma is an unbelievably, amazing person.

Perpetually upbeat.

Vibrantly energetic.

Effortlessly nurturing.

The list goes on and on with so many great attributes to describe her. To say she’ll be missed is highly obvious and an understatement.

I will be flying out to California to be with my Dad’s side of the family to celebrate her memorial. It is truly bittersweet to see my family under these circumstances, and it thoroughly reminds me that being engaged with family is something that should be of high priority for us all. You never know when the abrupt interruption of such a message will be behind a ringing phone.

My Oma was a major part of my childhood. I have so many memories of her and the house she lived in in Long Beach. She ran a daycare for decades out of that house, so I’m sure there are multiple adults of my age that probably could share in the memory of it. I remember my Oma watching me and my brothers out of the kitchen window jumping off the elevated front porch. Seeing her smile through that window is unforgettable.

I remember my dad, uncle Dave, and aunt Heidi working up some elaborate scheme every year just to scare the wits out of my brothers and I, and the year my Oma decided to get in on it. She took a shot to the leg with my dad’s paintball gun to really sell the story.

I remember going for walks around the block with her. One time, when it was just me and her walking, my dad pulled up next to us and was pretending to be a stranger and she humorously leaned in the window and flipped him the bird. As a kid I was astonished, but now as an adult I can’t help but laugh because she would only ever do that in a humorous manner.

I remember her taking my older brother and I to get breakfast at McDonald’s early on Saturday mornings.

It’s been decades, but I can see the memories as vividly now as the moment they were stitched into the fabric of my mind back then.

My most recent memory of her was when she came to my wife and I’s wedding. It’s not necessarily as fond as the others because I sensed she was lonely. It was after the wedding procession and pictures were being taken. There was a moment I saw her by herself leaned up against the balcony rail, taking in the scenery. I could tell she missed her late husband. (She actually endured the passing of two husbands in her lifetime.) I think that was the first time I saw an emotion other than happiness exuding from my Oma. I will remember that moment forever.

She touched many lives in life, but has far beyond established her legacy in her passing. She will be greatly missed and the wonderful memories I have of my beloved Oma will forever be in my heart.

I love you, Oma.

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