Saturday, November 15, 2014
Ten Things Of Thankful (74)
I'm starting this post of thankfuls in a very, very sad note. I received a phone call from my mom today informing me that my dear Grandpa (Opa) has passed away this afternoon. I am still too overwhelmed to feel anything but emptiness. I know that, as usual, this piece of news will need its time to sink in and I will not be able to grief this loss until later.
Right now, I am simply thankful of having had the opportunity to have my Opa in my life for so long.My parents' grandparents had all died when they were still young children, so I do see the privilege of having my Opa in our lives until well into my adulthood.
I am beyond thankful that he got to meet our three children. As his general condition was fast deteriorating, I was not sure if he would ever meet his youngest great-grandchild. But he did not only get to meet Calvin but also all three of his other great-grandchildren being born between March and August of this year.
I am thankful for all the fond memories he is part of. The huge family meetings for the winter holidays or in spring at my grandparens' place; I was always lookign forward to these for weeks, because it meant seeing everyone together again.
I am thankful that besides his upbringing (he was 16 when WWII ended, so I don't think I have to go into detail), Opa came to love and respect my husband for the wonderful person he is. I admit, I was scared of hsi reaction when I told him that I was engaged to be married to an American. I knew his point of view; still, he has welcomed my husband into the family with open arms.
I am thankful for my Opa having always kept his inner child alive. It was fun even when we were teenagers searching for the Easter nests in my grandparents' huge garden. Yes, even when he was in his 70s, he insisted that my grandma hid a nest for him as well.
I am thankful that I was home to see him a few times when his condition became very serious. When my other grandpa suddenly died back in March of 2010, I was sitting 9 months pregnant half a world away; to this day, I have not found the place to grief for this loss. Maybe this will be the chance to work everything up now, or maybe the grief for my other grandpa will always remain penned up deep inside me.
I cannot tell yet, but no matter how this will go, I am thankful for the time in the last weeks we got to sped with him. He was so happy to see us each time we stopped by, even though our visits were very strenuous for him, he never complained.
I am so thankful that I truly got to know this wonderful man. He had his standards that he put high and lived up to. But he was not too proud to change his look on things. He has worked hard all his life; he loved his family, especially the children. I remember several times when he took us to his smithy. He had a very old anvil placed on the stump of an ancient oak tree; he would light a fire in the forge and heat a peace of iron until it was white-hot; he then would wield a hammer of a size you cannot imagine and work a little horse-shoe shape out of it. It was the greatest thing in the world when I was a child.
I am thankful for having spent the occasional weekend with him. I remember this one time, he made us sweep the huge center yard for him. I was about 14, and the least thing I had on my mind on a Saturday afternoon was spending a couple of hours sweeping the yard. But he was so convincing, making it sound like so much fun, that I simply could not bring myself to tell him no. Yes, he was that good!!!
And finally, I am thankful that I am there to bide him fare-well properly. I have no experience with funerals, and I feel totally helpless. I will have to go shopping for jackets at least for Violet if not both girls, and maybe even a skirt for myself, even though the last thing I want to do right now is shopping. But I get to be there, look at him one last time, meet everyone in the family again, share stories about him and his life and will hear new ones. It will probably be heartbreaking, but also comforting at the same time.
I wish you all the best weekend! If you have a grandparent alive, do me a favor and visit or call them this weekend!