Remembering: One Year Ago

/ 9 March 2011

One year ago today I got a call from Dr. Djavan, my grandmother’s doctor in Vienna. Oma was very ill, she had been in the hospital already for a few weeks and I was planning a to visit. In fact, Nathaniel and I would be leaving later that day. Dr. Djavan was calling us to say he didn’t think Oma would last much longer. He had done all he could, but the downward spiral had begun and would get faster as the days passed. He was trying to reach my mother so he could tell her to come quickly.

The whole Cleveland branch of the family went on the hunt for Dagmar. She is usually so easy to reach, one cell phone call away. But today, with this urgent news, nobody could find her. She was out of touch.

I have scattered emails and notes about the two months that followed. I want to record them here, in a series of posts over the next few months. I want to remember what it was like to share these last weeks with Oma. She did indeed die, but not right away. As I said to family that evening one year ago: “I am not sure how much longer Oma has with us or what the next hours and days of her journey will bring, but I’m sure she can use your prayers. I am heading to Vienna this evening, so I’ll keep you posted from there once I arrive tomorrow.”

This will be a retelling of that story, with maybe a few more recent reflections woven in.

One year ago today I wrote this, I’ll share it with you today:

I find myself crying and praying.

But I’m not sure what for.

My Oma is dying, and I certainly don’t want to keep her.

Let God and the universe have her soul

her energy

her courage

her love.

I don’t want to keep her,

but I do want to he there for her.

To help her in whatever way I can.

To make some waffles or a boiled egg.

I want to tickle her one more time.

Play cards.

Talk about her in the fields as a young girl,

see the wonder in her eyes.

I want to let her know, again, how much I love her.

That I will never forget her.

That I am so happy my children have known her and will remember her.

My Oma is dying, and I don’t want to keep her.

But it is so so hard to let her go.


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