Rest in Peace Marie-Luise Presser (1921 – 2010)

My grandmother at her favourite spot in the house

My grandmother at her favourite spot in the house

It was a long day today.  We buried my grandmother (my mother’s mother).  She passed away last Thursday, peacefully, in her bath, aged 89.

It was the end of an era for our family.  To us she was the perfect grandmother.  The kind, little old lady, just like you would see on television.  She was great.  Actually, she was a really fantastic grandmother.  Always full of love and compassion.  Everyone who met her fell in love with her.  As a childhood friend told me “she was our grandmother too.”

My grandparents on their wedding day in 1942.

My grandparents on their wedding day in 1942.

As a child I remember missing her all year, and being really excited to see her before the summer holiday.  When we’d arrive in the airport she would greet us with a bag of German gummy bears.  During the summer she’d bake for us, babysit us, and generally be a great grandmother.

I miss her.

My siblings and I arrived early this morning from Bahrain.  It was really difficult to see my grandfather later in the morning.  What do you say to a man who just lost his wife?  What do you say to a man who lost his life partner of more than 76 years?  There are no words to say.  When I saw him I hugged him, and told him I was sorry.  “I’m sorry too” he replied.  It was a very difficult moment.

Just walking into my grandparent’s house knowing that she would not be there was very difficult.  I was almost expecting to see her sitting in her favourite corner.  I miss her.

It was the first time I attended a (protestant) Christian funeral.   They are very different from ours.  The service started at 3:00 pm, and was presided over by a priestess.  Though I don’t have a frame of reference, I thought she did a very good job.  She was very friendly, and spoke eloquently.  She spoke about her life, and mentioned some of the highlights.  The talk/sermon was interspersed with musical ensembles.  The whole thing was a bit theatrical, but still “enjoyable.”

So many people came; a testament to how much she was loved.  My sister came to the podium and read a letter she has sent her 6 month earlier.  It articulated perfectly how we all felt about her.  She spoke about the lovely summers of our youth, and how they played Canasta together.  Her talk made me cry and cry.  I don’t know if you’ll be able to read the letter, bu here it is:

Oma letter 1

Oma letter 2

After the priestess was done the gasket was carried to the grave, and gently lowered into it.  She gave another short sermon there,  followed by a prayer.  She then tossed some dirt and flower petals into the grave.  She was followed by my 92-year old grandfather, followed by my uncle, mother, aunt, and youngest uncle.  Then it was our turn – the grand kids – followed by other family and guests.

Funny, the sun was shining all day, but when the gasket was carried out the sky started to thunder.  And when we stood at the grave, it started pouring.  The sky was crying.

My grandmother's casket

My grandmother's casket

Some of the flowers...

Some of the flowers...

This was followed by a small reception at a local restaurant.  There was so much talk about how wonderful she was, and she was.  I sat next to the priestess and had a long conversation with her.  I asked her tons of questions (as I often do) about her job.  I hope to write a separate blog post about my conversation with her.

After the reception I spent some time in my grandparents house.  I asked my uncle to take a picture of an old photograph of theirs , the one you see on this blog.

I’m now sitting with some family members in my parents house, thinking of her.

God rest your soul Oma Liesel.

Thanks for reading and talk to you soon.

PS Here’s a blog post I wrote about Germany a couple of years ago.

11 Responses to Rest in Peace Marie-Luise Presser (1921 – 2010)

  1. Gabriele Tropf 9 June 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Lieber Suhail,
    gerade heute erfuhr ich von Bianca Schindler, als ich sie traf, dass Deine liebe Omi gestorben ist. Das ist sehr traurig für Dich und auch für mich, denn sie hat auch mein Leben einige viele Jahre, es waren immerhin 16 Jahre, als liebe und zuverlässige Nachbarin begleitet. Unser Hund Baffi, fand eine liebevolle Betreuung durch Sie und Deinen Großvater, wenn wir Urlaub machten und wir hatten sehr nette Stunden beim gemeinsamen Kaffee. Es ist bedauerlich, dass ich vom Tod, Deiner Großmutter nicht eher erfahren habe, denn ich wäre sehr gern zur Trauerfeier und Beerdigung gekommen. Bitte richte Deiner Mutter ebenfalls einen Gruß und mein herzlichstes Beileid aus.
    Mit herzlichen Grüßen
    Gabriele Tropf

    • Suhail 9 June 2010 at 11:48 pm #

      Thank you so much Mrs. Tropf. I appreciate the kind words, and I’ve already passed your message to my mother. Thank you once again.

  2. margie 9 June 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    Hi Suhail, that was a wonderful testament to your Grandmother. I only met her a few times but what a lovely woman she was, and you’re right, the epitome of a grandmother. I was lucky enough to have one like her also and I know what a large place they have in our lives, and how much they are missed. All I can say is how sorry I am for your loss, you and your family, most especially your mother and your grandfather, of course. You were all blessed to have had her in your lives and will carry her in your heart all your days. God keep and bless her.

    • Suhail 9 June 2010 at 11:51 pm #

      Thanks Margie. It was a nice coincidence seeing you in the airport. I’ve passed your regards to my mother.

  3. Sonja 10 June 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Thank you Suhail, for sharing such a personal moment with us. Margie is right, you did it in a beautiful, heartfelt manner. I believe some people touch us in a special way and we are able to carry on and share with others. You grandmother touched so many of us in special ways! Sonja

    • Suhail 10 June 2010 at 7:43 am #

      Your most welcome. And than you for the kind words. I agree with what you said.

  4. Abdul Aziz Al Khalifa 19 June 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    عظم الله أجرك

  5. Mahmood Al-Yousif 20 June 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    My deepest condolences my friend. May she rest in peace.

  6. Will Newman 28 June 2010 at 2:48 am #

    Dear Suhail, kindly convey my deep sympathy and sincere condolences to your wonderful mother. I send warm greetings to your entire family. Best regards, Will

    • Suhail 28 June 2010 at 3:03 am #

      Thanks very much Will. Will do and all the best.

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