You know how when you are a kid, all in a rush to grow up and all those pesky adults keep saying to slow down, don’t be in such a rush to grow up, that someday you’ll wish you would have taken it all in, slowed down and enjoyed being a kid, and you just roll your eyes and keep going?!
I’m sure I’m not the only one to regret not taking in more of the time I spent with my grandparents. As a kid, if you have your grandparents, you feel as though they will always be there, for your entire life. Even when the horrible event that one grandparent passes it doesn’t hit that they aren’t the only one that will pass on from this world. Grandparents are all going to be there.
Of course, although my grandparents are all gone, they are still here with me. They will always be in my heart and have my love. I make sure to tell my kids stories, so they can know their greats unlike I never knew mine. Both of my parents are still alive as are both my in-laws and I know that losing a parent will be a pain like no other, but the loss of a grandparent is also a pain like no other. I think it’s a pain that lessens with time but never truly goes away.
I never knew my Grampa Krueger, my mom’s dad, he passed away when I was about a year-and-a-half. He had a debilitating stroke a number of years earlier, my father once told me that as horrible as it was to say, that it would have been best if Grampa had passed when he had his last stroke because the last five or so years of his life were miserable for him. That made me realize why there are no pictures of me with my Grampa, it had bothered me for so many years and it still makes me sad, but I can now understand the why.
No one ever really ever mentioned Grampa when we were kids, no pictures set in frames or anything. When my kids were young I got into ancestry and by my digging and wanting pictures I was able to get the family to open up about Grampa and now everyone has framed pictures in their homes of him and he is talked about. Really wish I would have been able to know him, he had one hell of a temper but he was a super giving guy and wanted no acknowledgment, he was happy to be in the background. Someday I’ll tell his story.
In 1999 I lost my next Grandpa, Grandpa Petersen. He was a mountain of a man! He was the typical patriarch of our family, his word was law…unless Oma said otherwise, she was his boss!
Grandpa was a farmer all his life. The son and grandson of farmers. He was a tall man, reminiscent of a mountain. He was a tough man, he was a kind man who melted when a grandchild crawled onto his lap and asked for “Doodly Doo”, a German sing song thing he would do while bouncing us on his knee. I love this man with all of my heart and soul…
He taught me the art of being a “longneck”! Cheating at cribbage!
My Gramma K., my mom’s mom, was the next to pass in 2003. This is the woman who after my mom, did the most for me in my young life. When mom couldn’t be at a function or take us somewhere, it was Gramma Ruth that did the running. When we needed a sitter, Gramma was there, when we wanted to be spoiled, Gramma was there.
Gramma didn’t spoil us with things, she only bought things for us at our birthday, Christmas and Easter. She spoiled us with her love, SO much LOVE! Wish I could explain the degree of love she spoiled us with…she was just always there, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were her reason for being. She had so many non-blood family members, she was loved by so many. She gave all she had and more. She kinda rocked!
When Gramma K passed I was beside myself with grief. I felt horrible that I hadn’t given her the attention in the years after I married that I should have. Sure, I kept in touch with her via letters and phone calls, but I didn’t visit like I should have, something I will have to live with the rest of my life. After she passed I realized that I had only ONE grandparent left, I was in my early 30’s and THAT was when I had my AHA moment. Grandparents won’t be there for us forever and that would mean I was no longer a child.
I was bound and determined to spoil my remaining grandparent, my dad’s mom, my Oma. We moved back home about two months after Gramma Krueger passed away and there was no reason to not be smothering my Oma with all the love and affection that she could stand!
She kicked and screamed a bit in the beginning, she had always done for herself and no one had ever really said, you sit back and let me give you a hand, she was a farmer’s wife and daughter, she was in her mid-80’s and still burning her garbage and vacuuming her own house. The kids and I started coming in to visit her at least once a week and before long she was letting us help with little things. She enjoyed being taken to town to the drive inn or to town for no reason at all, she loved riding in my yellow Escape!
Oma never lost her spunk, she was just short of 90 when she and my Leo had a round, she’d sent me downtown to pick some things up for her and when I got back she’d spanked him because he’d been being destructive and refused to mind, I found it absolutely hilarious, Leo didn’t, but he didn’t disobey her ever again. He loved his Oma with all he had. He loved doing for her!
When we lost Oma in 2009 I thought the world had stopped spinning. How could I go on with this woman who was the center of my universe gone? She was my best friend! We planned our week around when we were going to go see her and if we needed to take her places or do things for her. Who was going to pick on me for buying jeans with holes in them? Who was I going to give a hard time to about misbehaving?
I’ve taught my children that grandparents are meant to be cherished and humored and spoiled. They are meant to spend as much time with as possible. They are a true light in our lives…a light that will lessen when they leave this earth, but will never truly ever go completely out…they live on in our hearts for eternity!