Last night after 9 p.m., my mom received a call. The call informed us that my Oma passed away. She’d spent over three weeks in hospice after a brain cancer diagnosis. Before this diagnosis, she suffered two strokes, three UTIs, three cases of pneumonia and multiple seizures. The past 11 months put our family through considerable suffering. Even though she’s been with us physically, we lost a big part of her in April when the strokes robbed her of the ability to speak. You will never appreciate someone’s voice until they can no longer talk to you.
We knew back in April this outcome was inevitable, but the news of her death still affected us. Mom contacted Dad at work, and I went to tell my sister. I remember seeing her face change when she saw my watery eyes and tear-stained cheeks. I held her in my arms and reassured her that Oma was in a better place – no more pain, suffering or poor quality of life. She had a front seat in Heaven where she’ll continue to watch over us for the rest of our lives.
Before her life ended, we started thinking about her funeral. Now that she’s on her way to be cremated, plans are fast-tracked. I created photo boards and a slideshow to display parts of her life. Flipping through her photo albums gave me a deeper appreciation for the woman I aspire to be. She had qualities that set her a part from others, but one trait shined to the very end: her strength. She was a fighter. She fought to stay with us for as long as she could. She defied the odds when she lasted 25 days in hospice. Even the nurses were amazed. In my mind, she wasn’t fighting for her life, she was fighting to stay with people she loved.
What’s been comforting during this time is prayer. Last night before bed, I knelt next to my bed and said:
Dear Lord, thank you for ending my Oma’s suffering by welcoming her into your eternal embrace. Please reign down on our family with your unending consolation, love and strength. Wrap your arms around us and soak us in your grace. Make it clear to each member of our family that life will continue and that the pain in our hearts will heal over time. Lord I do not blame you for I know that everything you do is for a reason. Please bring our family closer together during this time of sorrow as we mourn the loss of a loved one. In your glorious name I pray. Amen.