Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oma: Memories and a Slideshow

As mentioned in my last post, my Oma (German for grandmother) passed away two weekends ago. She was much loved and will be remembered always by all. The services over the past weekend were tough but cathartic, and really helped us all remember what an amazing life she lived and the full extent of her impact on those around her. At the funeral many came up to us afterwards to say that it was the most celebratory service that they had been to, which makes sense. Oma lived a full life, and tended to make others part of her family simply through her innate kindness and willingness to give her all to others. As my brother Siegi quoted in his wonderful eulogy, Oma claimed that "I don't have much to give, but I'll give you all that I've got."

I didn't get around to writing a eulogy for her, but I thought that I'd like to share my experiences with her here. My memory of her consists mostly of her understated sense of humor. When I was growing up I would try to scare her all the time, leaping out of closets, sitting silently in her chair as she was about to enter the room, and occasionally accidentally when I just walked in while she was watching one of her TV shows. Every time she'd get a wry smile on her face, shake a fist at me and say "You know what this smells like? Doctor!"

She had a dark sense of humor, which understandably played well with my own strange comedy. We would joke about her getting old, me teasing her for losing her perfection that she attained at age 80 and she returning by threatening to beat me up. Of course her almost contained smile managed to give away that she didn't mind that much. Her stubborn streak also earned some teasing from me, as she insisted on doing things that I gladly offered to help with. But no, it had to be done her way... and to be fair, it was often the best way to do it. But I couldn't just let her get away with everything, now could I?

She was also extremely proud of the work she did. Right up to the end she was driving around town, gardening and cooking entire feasts pretty much all by herself. She did have some trouble getting around but she kept on going. I hope to have half the drive and vitality that she showed when I'm her age.

I also remember just sitting with her and talking. Our conversations would span almost any topic, generally about my future or her past, talking about the state of the world and how much it's changed since she came into it. She was always proud of me and the rest of her family, and I take comfort knowing that she went to her rest knowing that we were all doing all right.

And then there's the cooking. She's the reason I like preparing food, and the reason that I still need to work on my Heffezopf recipe to get it back up to her level. I would often call her from college with random questions on cooking an Easter feast, a batch of Heffedaig or just how to make her famous Kartoffelsalat. I hope that my brain remembers her teachings, as I'm not sure if I can read her Schwabisch hand writing too well... not that she ever used recipes. "Just add it in till it feels right" was a common refrain from her.

A bit rambling, but that's how I do. Siegi put together a wonderful slide show with pics of Oma for the services, and he graciously sent it to me to post here. I don't have sound to go with it, but if you play You Are My Sunshine (the first song she learned in English), the Mash Theme or Beatles songs while watching you'll get the picture.

If you have any other pictures of Oma that you would like to add, just send them to me and I'll add them to the slideshow. Thanks for reading, and thank you to those who have sent their condolences- they are much appreciated. She lived a great life, went out still as stubborn and active as ever, and is now with her husband in Heaven. Who could ask for more?

1 comment:

Wie lang wird ihr lesen, wenn ich schreiben? said...

really nice max. Thanks for sharing and putting this up