Every time I see my Oma again, I burst into tears. I steel myself before. I tell myself to be brave. I tell myself to be strong, none of it works. I see her and I melt. It is just love. It is my guilt at being so far. It is my sadness at how she has changed. And it is my fear it is the last time.
My Oma will be 99 this December. An incredible age. My cousin and I marveled at all the things she has seen in her lifetime. We find it hard to imagine there will ever be another age where life changed so rapidly, so completely, as the last century. I feel so blessed I spent so much time with my Oma as a child. I am the oldest grandchild, maybe because of that our bond is incredibly strong. We spent hours together playing cards, me always losing (I only discovered she’s a big cheater-head well into my 20′s), shopping, cooking, talking. I miss that now, though at the same time I am so thankful.
She has changed with age, she looks very different, I struggle to see her in the person she is now. But her blue eyes are just as piercing, just as full of love & pride & joy as always. And sometimes I see her shine through, like when I burst into tears, she frowned at me, then nodded at my kids sitting still, almost frozen, wondering what to do with their mommy. It helped me to get myself back together, to turn my attention to them, and explain my tears are of love.
Always when I visit, she is retreated inside herself until I pick up Dane and sit him on her lap. She immediately grabs on, holds him tight, and just sinks away for a moment in his sweet little boy smell, his warm skin and his amazing personality. This time I had my camera ready. I wanted more than anything to capture that moment. That moment where she is really here. In the moment. My Oma.