death grandparent oma

Thinking back to the death of my Oma in the hospital room, feels like a big blur. With everything that took place prior. She was sick, 84, living in a nursing home, and not just any nursing home, the so called fancy one, in a prestigious area. None of that matters though, they still stole her clothes.

She never wanted to end up in a nursing home. That was like a nightmare for her. I remember her reaction. Her two bedroom apartment was sold and barely covered the expenses. It was hard for me to really gauge or feel like I could be apart of the process, as I was younger and not as knowledgable as I am today. So all responsibilities fell into the hands of her eldest son, whom she called the Man, because of her alzheimers. Oma had a history of thyroid problems, heart problem, and was a smoker for a really long time. She was also very bitter about her divorce for years and seemed heart broken all through my younger years.

But one thing I knew through and through, she had a GIGANTIC heart filled with love, and all intentions of giving with love.

From what I witnessed growing up though, she seemed too much to bare for most of our family members, which is hard to say, but was strongly experienced from my perspective growing up. I don’t like to blame anyone and that is not my intention. I just feel the pain of this because in my older years I then followed by example and this breaks my heart. All the things I could have embraced, could have been open to, if only I could have seen past it all. Simply put and sad to admit, it wasn’t my time nor did I have the capacity or awareness to decipher who I was in the midst of the silent rudeness and frustration towards our Oma. She was ill for majority of my life. but I know she did do her best. Gosh, I miss her. Her soapy, imperial leather smell mixed with cigarette smoke.

I didn’t get a chance to say what I wanted to until it was too late. She was in the nursing home for years, and I made the time here and there as often as I could to visit. But I know it wasn’t enough. By the time I had the awareness, courage and understanding she had forgotten me, Oma’s Alzheimers became worse and dementia, kicked in. I prayed so hard for forgiveness, for my lack of understanding and support and one day I went to her to make amends. We found a lovely shaded spot in the garden, under a tree on a glorious spring day. Oma sat on a chair and I got down on my knees and rested my head on her right knee. She stroked my head over and over, ever so gently. It was so delicately comforting and even though I had all these things I wanted to say, I didn’t. I didn’t need to say one single word, except ‘I love you Oma’, My throat throbbing with emotion, she knew, she knew exactly what I was going to say, she could feel me and I could feel her and all was good, all was forgiven. We walked back later slowly to her room. I didn’t want to leave but I knew I couldn’t stay. I will be forever filled with gratitude for that miracle spring afternoon, under the tree at the nursing home with my head on my Oma’s knee.

When I have moments and thoughts of feeling robbed of my time with Oma. I reflect on the moments we did have, because so much of the truth resides there.


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