Monday, February 18, 2013

Tribute To My Opa

Last week my Opa passed away. He was surrounded by loved ones, including my Oma. I thought I'd share a few things about him. 
My Opa, Reinhard, was born in the Westfalia region of Prussia, before Prussia became Germany. His father worked in a coal mine boiler room. His mother was a seamstress and tailor.
 My Opa, with his parents and older sister, Ruth.

He studied to become a mechanic and welder. But a few weeks before he was able to take his final test for his degree, his visa came through to leave Germany. The choice was to either stay in a war-torn post WWII Germany, or go to a new land. He chose to travel to Canada while he had the chance. He met my Oma on the boat. He played his lute and was popular with the ladies. My Oma was seasick the whole time.

His nephew learned his lifelong love of planes from my Opa. As a 5-year-old in Germany, Peter, the nephew had hammered two pieces of wood together in a cross arrangement and wiggled the two pieces around pretending it was a plane. Opa explained to him how a plane really worked. (The nephew is not pictured below).
My Opa is in the cockpit, my Mum is to the right. 

My Opa passed down the art of taking a proper roadtrip. The goal of the trip wasn't to get to a place as fast as possible. He encouraged taking the backroads. And it was just fine to stop for a second breakfast.
 Opa taking a "second breakfast" in the Mojave.

We had many lovely years with him. Towards the end of his life, he did have Alzheimers. My Oma served him faithfully to the end. Although he didn't talk for the last few years of his life, we knew he understood things just fine when we visited. He would always tear up and we'd get his classic bear hug.
My Opa and his sister Ruth

The last time I saw my Opa, I was able to show him the majority of the knits for The Book. He looked and touched every one of them. I was able to let him know that he was one of the reasons this book could even happen. And I also let him know that his compass and one of his coins from his coin collection would be appearing as props with one of the knits. That night I received the strongest hug I had ever gotten from him, despite his growing weakness. There isn't a better goodbye that could be had.

12 comments :

Alicia Landi said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather, it made me tear up... You are lucky to have had him in your life for so long and to have such wonderful memories of him. I hope you feel better soon.

Bethany said...

Sorry about your loss Audry. A nice post you've done here, the photos are great. Strange coincidence...My grandpa just passed away 10 days ago, from Alzheimer's, so I know how you must be feeling. Sending good thoughts your way.

José said...

Left me speechless... great tribute. Sorry for your loss..

Elisa Rocket said...

Sorry for your family's loss, Audry. He looks and sounds like a classy guy! I feel inspired to take a road trip.

Laura said...

What wonderful memories of your grandfather. Thank you for sharing. They touched me deeply, and reminded me of the kind of legacy I want to leave behind for my children and grandchildren. I am deeply sorry for your loss, and know that thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of need.

fern1knits said...

Your Opa sounds like a wonderful grandfather, and what a lovely tribute to him; my eyes teared up reading about him.

Alina Sayre said...

Audry, what a special remembrance of your Opa. Thank you for sharing--I didn't know him personally, but this is a very fine tribute. Love you.

Jessie said...

I'm sorry for your loss, your Opa sounds like a great guy! I'm glad you got to share your achievement with him before he passed, he must have been so proud.

kiwiyarns said...

What a lovely tribute. My sincere sympathies on your loss Audry. Even though his time had come, it's always hard to say good-bye. You have such wonderful memories of your Opa, and in a way he lives on with you in your continued traditions. xx

Court B said...

My thoughts go out to you and your family. that was a beautiful tribute.

Dona said...

So sorry about your loss Audry. It was a wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing.

Andi G said...

Ah love, I am so sorry to hear of your Opa's passing. What a huge loss. Sending you love and strength and a hug.
XO!

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