Posted in Family, War

Another old gem

Another old gem surfaced looking through Mom’s paperwork. A picture of my maternal grandparents. Grandma was always a beautiful woman with great style, and grandpa was pretty handsome too, reminding me of Charlie Chaplin a bit. Together they had two daughters, my Mom and her younger sister who is my godmother. Together they have also seen and fought in the war, were prisoners and spent 11 years apart from each other. Grandpa was a prisoner of war and Grandma had to flee the country with Mom who was only 5 years old at the time. It was a miracle Grandpa found his family again through the Red Cross after he was released from prison, and life could continue as a family.

Posted in Family, Holidays

Family – Memories

Meet my four cousins with their Mom (Moms sister and my godmother). This picture was taken at one of the many Christmas markets I got to visit, mostly with family. There is no place like home, especially for the holidays and I am grateful for the time we’ve spent, the closeness we have found in each other and the support of caring for each other. I miss these guys like crazy already and can’t wait until the next time when we connect once more.

Posted in Death, Family, Loss

The last of my Clan

Baby me with my parents

I felt like an orphan several times since Mom has passed. There is something so lonely about not having your parents anymore. It’s bad enough having to grow up with only one, but having none is a whole different story.

It’s even frightening to some extend, even if you have led independent life’s for many years just like me. If you have been on your own, responsible and dependable without ever asking for help. I guess there was always some sort of safety cushion you never even fully realized, although you never planned on failing and asking for help. You just weren’t alone and somehow you knew without any further thought about it.

Now, being without parents, being an only child and a childless one on top, I realize that I am the last of our family, the last of our clan. It all ends with me.

Posted in Family, Life, Memories, Mom

Moments like these

I’d imagine there will be many more moments just like this one. There will always be a surprise lingering and I have found quite a few sorting through some of Moms things.

Today I found some picture from June of 1998 such as the one above of Mom and me. I was living in the states already, but was here to visit. I remember this picture and she was getting ready to walk Pookey, originally my dog but whom stayed back with her in Germany once I moved. I’m not sure how I managed that at the time, all I know is that I surely couldn’t leave my dog behind these days if I had one.

I look at this picture now and remember her taking off with the dog while I stayed behind. How I wish that I could take that walk with her now. It’s crazy that we always live a life wishing we would have done this and that, a life with regrets, but I guess it is normal. Perhaps the key is to stay conscious the best we can to have as little of those regretful moments as possible. This can only be achieved through being constantly aware of our actions and the consequences such bring. For us and for all around us.

I found something else today that pulled on my heartstrings and which dates back to before I left for the states, a long time ago, 30 some years. It’s crazy to think that she held on to it for all these years. I found notes, written notes from me to her. They are just scraps. Scratches, silly notes of communication, instructions to wake me up at a certain time, to bring me a surprise from the store, stuff like that. I think I know why she has kept them. They were written in a funny, joking way. A way Dad would have behaved, and perhaps it reminded her of him.

I have always struggled to see and feel Moms love. I’ve always needed more. I was a child fully aware of my feelings and my heart was on my sleeve from little on. I’ve always felt too much and throughout life I got hurt because of it, but also experienced beauty and bliss that can only be experienced by feeling the extraordinary and making yourself vulnerable. After Dads passing I took on responsibilities that a child nor an adult could carry and fulfill. I grew up too fast and my personality diminished while I stood in the shadow of my father trying to take care of Mom. Of course nobody could have ever filled those shoes, but as a child, even then, I felt I had to do something to bring a little light to her life. It was my mission until she died.

Today my heart burst’s as I look at these notes from a different angle. Yes, they may have reminded her of my Dad, but maybe she kept them because I wrote them and they had a special meaning without having to stand in anyone’s shadow. She stapled them all together and they were here all this time. They stayed behind in memory while I left and moved away. I never knew until today that she had kept them and I’m sure it won’t be the last heartfelt emotion I will find in what used to be her four walls and where she spent most of her life.

Posted in Family, Mom

Blessings

Blessings can come in many different ways, and yesterday I received one that touched multiple people. Unexpectedly and without my knowledge of such grand, scheme, plan, I received a few pictures from Mom’s cousin yesterday. Wednesday was what we used to call “salt day”, and every first Wednesday of the month we went to the salt pools to let all the troubles float away and enjoy a few hours in great company. I remember the first time when she convinced me to go, and I am sure glad that I did. I got to learn so much more about her, meeting a beautiful soul with so much in common, and the rest has been history ever since. A fond friendship was formed that never existed prior and perhaps couldn’t have as timing is everything and our life experiences often mold us together, bringing the right people into our lives at the right times.

We have stayed in contact ever since, and yesterday she sent me a few pictures. It was salt day and it is not uncommon that she visits Mom on those days to say hi. Mom has her own fond memories of a younger time spent with her cousin and they share a beautiful, natural bond that touches my heart. I didn’t know about the plan of taking the visit to the next level, and she, along with her boyfriend Herbert (such a sweetheart, she met at the salt pools while I was there), took Mom on a little trip out of the nursing home. I instantly welled up seeing Mom so happy and carefree, for whatever amount of time possible. It was huge for her and I can only imagine how it must feel to be in the same room day after day without feeling the sunshine or being able to be outside. Her last trip outside was on October the 13th 2018 with me, and I am grateful for the blessing of seeing Mom smile from ear to ear, and the blessing that was given to her by enjoying a different quality of life and a few hours of distraction. 💙

Posted in Celebration, Family

Happy Birthday Emily

Last year I got to celebrate this special day with my niece Emily (bottom left) while being in Germany. It is always during those special events that I reminisce and miss home just a little more. I know the celebration will be special and another year will have passed. Funny how when we are jung time seems to move so slowly, letting us believe that we have all the time in the world, and then before we know it, time races and some of us may even stop celebrating all together. We really shouldn’t, and just like in those younger days, we should celebrate and be grateful to yet add another year to our human clocks. It is a privilege denied to many.

Happy Birthday Emily. May all your wishes and dreams come true. Love you 😍

Posted in Family, Life, Mom

Ice cold reminders

Mom has no concept of time and to her each day in the nursing home probably feels like an eternity. I get it, but for me life looks a lot different and time is passing. I am recovering from being at the bottom, and although there is progress (thank God), it is slow to gain my strengths back. I filed for my unemployment yesterday and it looks like it was already approved, which means that I have to look for a job now. That’s gonna throw a major wrench into things and the time I need on the personal front such as clearing a life of 30 years, a house and getting it ready to be put up on the market, in the hopes of selling and getting out from underneath it.

Talking to her yesterday, I could tell that something was bothering her. Her facial lines were hard and it didn’t take all that long for the issue to surface and vocalize. Today was not any different and she was still consumed with what happened. She couldn’t let go and finally it all escalated during our conversation.

She tells me that her doctor was there to draw blood etc. and asked for her insurance card. Her card is kept downstairs in the office (I’m not sure if it’s the same with everyone) in case of an emergency or if she needs to be admitted into the hospital. It’s merely so they have her information on file, but explain this to Mom who for as long as she remembers always had the card in her wallet and doesn’t understand why it was ripped out of her hands (literally) from one of the nurses who has zero personality, (a total other issue), and why it was not given back to her. I tried many of times to explain it to her, and sometimes it works and she calms down, other times she doesn’t. Anyways, her doctor asks for her insurance card knowing darn well that it is kept downstairs and rallies her up for no reason at all. I have seen him do it before and there is simply no need for it. It’s the same doctor that rather talked about US politics, and the president to me as I came to his office in a frantic attempt to prevent Mom from coming home after a hospital stay. The one who told me to turn Mom over to the state and maybe that will make her wake up. Yeah that one. You might remember that post and I have no respect for him due to the things he has pulled. Now that, and the information about her insurance is the same as always, hasn’t changed, as a matter of fact he has it on file and knows it’s kept downstairs, so why? I don’t get it and it makes her relive those moments all over again that she is simply not in control over her life anymore. Why put her through it, standing there and smirking like an idiot about her response. I remember the first time. That’s a doctor. Also the same that couldn’t care less about me as I needed help. It is scary to Mom to not be in control anymore, it requires adjustment, as it would be for anyone. He doesn’t care.

It turns into a big deal until the nursing home shows her paperwork of which I signed that apparently says that it is ok to hold on to the card for safe keeping. She doesn’t understand and I better not sign anything else for her or else. Here we go and now she is mad at me and I’m the scapegoat. Just that quick and no matter what I do good and right, it never is enough and I’m caught in the middle of an unbelievable battle that can’t be won. “You better come back and get me out of the nursing home because I DO NOT want to stay here” she says. It’s now all my fault that she is there and heaven forbid she finds out that this is not the only paperwork I have signed and that I truly have committed her. Perhaps it will be the end of our relationship and she will never talk to me again. I don’t think she would ever understand. At this point in our conversation, I’m choosing my words very carefully because she has already reminded me that I wouldn’t behave this way if my father was alive. Do we really have to go there again?

Mom lives in an unrealistic world and she has no concept of anything. Even if I was to return to Germany, this wouldn’t happen for months, and I’m not sure what she is thinking. I told her I’ve been very sick from all of this, but she is too scared about her own situation to even acknowledge mine. It doesn’t matter. Is one life truly more important then the other!!!! I’m all she has and she seems to not have a problem to place the entire burden into my lap. “At least you are free and can leave whenever you want to” she tells me. “There is nothing wrong with me, except I can’t walk” she says. “Wouldn’t you not think that this is major deal and enough to justify that you can’t take care of yourself anymore” I ask in reply.

We finally end the call and say our goodbyes on good terms, but I can only imagine. This one could have been avoided I feel, but soon or later, I know she will get angry with me and might not talk anymore. Perhaps she feels like this already at times, but knows she can’t really afford to. I already dread that day and honestly had hoped it would take a little longer until we got to this part. Hopefully tomorrow is a new day and a better one at that.

Posted in Family, Holidays

German Christmas 🎄

I got to visit a few Christmas markets over the weekend and it’s been something I always fondly thought of in the states. There is nothing like it, and it’s fun to mingle amongst people from near and far. Stands line the street filled with homemade goods and rare gift ideas, in addition to all the food vendors.

The top picture showcases my nieces Leni & Emily in front of the famous Käthe Wohlfahrt Store in Rothenburg. It’s a Christmas store that is open year round and usually is packed with tourists. It is a tradition to pose in front of the giant Christmas vehicle and I usually get a picture sent from my cousin. This time was there myself to take the picture.

Emi in front of one of the many magical stalls. The spirit is high at the Christmas markets, and neat things can be found even for the pickiest of recipients.

The family…Moms sister, my cousin and nieces and me enjoying a glass of Glühwein, Children’s punch and a tasty waffle.

Posted in Family, Origami

Origami family night

  • I found out why Emily and Leni thought that the “Hippie Time” postcard was a perfect fit for me. It all started with “Fern” my little flower power pink VW bus. Although he came with me to Germany, sadly the projects to photograph it in various location fell a bit to the wayside and was never executed with success.
  • Secondly my desire of one day owning a bus to call my home played a role and was a sign as well. It was enough to associate the postcard with me. ❤️
  • Here is a picture of our folding Origami night where we created a few cute bunnies. Another folding creation is under my belt. 😉
  • Posted in Death, Family, Life

    10/8/1974

    I sat on the cemetery’s bench and cried yesterday. It’s not the first time that I felt overcome with emotions visiting Dad. Not the first time that I wished that he was here, and definitely not the first time that I told him of how much I missed him. I remembered the day of his funeral, I was ten, in shock and unable to cry. I remember the eyes of the “Village people”, the community of my small town on me, watching my every move. I can hear the talk and I definitely still feel the pain over the loss of my Dad. I accepted his passing, (did I really have another choice), but I never got over the pain and it catches up from time to time.

    10/8/1974 is the German way of writing for the date of August the 8th, as we write the day before the month. An important date that passed this year as if it was a day like any other.

    Watering Dad’s grave today, the anniversary of his death jumped out at me and I completely had forgotten. It was 10/8/1974 and I felt like a bad daughter, ashamed, being here so close, able to visit his grave site and that I forgot about it. I know that I feel close to him every day, and don’t need to be at the cemetery in order to do so, but still. I know that there are other forces at hand that have left me vulnerable, questioning how a loving daughter could forget a day like this. And I know that I am unnecessary hard on myself. There is a void, a pain inside that has to run it’s course, whether it is influenced by outside experiences or my own standards and inability to give myself too much slack. I was here in Germany on the day of his death’s anniversary, I should have visited and brought flowers. At the least I shouldn’t have remembered.p and talked to him.

    Life has changed so much since coming to Germany. I have gained some things and I have lost some things. It’s a delicate balance of give and take, of craziness and sanity, it’s a daily struggle. Some days I win, some days I don’t, and yet I’m still standing. Some days feel like I can take on the world, others I want to hide and give in to the endless tired and exhausting feeling. I find myself on my knees more times than I would like to, but I have always managed to get back up. It has been a journey packed full of emotions and immense growths. In the end, I know that I chose this path for the sake of everyone.