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.”
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:
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.
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.