I have been really missing my Gramma...... a lot of missing her has been in silence as everyone goes about their life, my heart is still broken over her passing. It has been just about 3 months since she has passed on into the presence of our Heavenly Father. I can still hear her Latvian accent calling out my name in my mind. I go back over to the times we spent and the many times we would just talk about her life in her country, the fleeing of her homeland, living in a displacement camp, meeting Grampa, and coming to America. Her childhood stories were extra special. I wanted so badly to know all that I could of her life and times before she came to America. She shared about the time she was an actress on stage, as was her father
(My Great Grandfather) and stepmother. She talked about the house she lived in, and how she was practically raised by her Gramma. She shared how as a little girl, during the war some American soldiers came to her home ( I'm not sure as to why they were there) but the funny part of the story was that she had never seen a colored person before. There standing over her was a very tall, very dark man as she said he was black as night. Her eyes widened and she fainted at his sight. For her, it was new and scary, but she laughed about it later. That must have been quite a fright for someone who has never seen dark skin in person. I could only picture it. She shared about the time she lived in the displacement camp in Germany after fleeing her country during the war. How she lived, what they did and meeting my Grampa there. I do wish now, that we could have recorded her telling her stories. It is too late now and it makes me sad. I am very grateful that I did take the time to just sit with her and ask .... I will treasure them up in my heart.
We had a special bond, even though I will admit it was only in the most recent years that we grew closer. She had my sister living with her throughout the years as my parents, my brother and I moved around a lot. I never really felt connected and perhaps I felt she favored my sister more... I am not totally certain, but that is how I perceived it. I will always hold dear the times and memories that we did have as I spent time in her home for a couple of Summers. I wanted very much to be close to my Grandparents. I remember being at her feet with whatever task she was doing. I stuck close and enjoyed seeing how very creative she was when it came to handiwork and cooking the best food. And I will cherish that she showed me her affection. It was really in the last 20 years our relationship grew... I had the first Great Grandbaby and would bring him over for visits during the time my Grampa was dieing. I helped my Gramma care for Grampy to the end. She called on me when she needed me the most. We found that we had the same sort of love for old things and cute things. She spent time with us in our home, and had fun shopping through the antique shops. Her taste was very much like mine. I just loved that about her. She truly had a great eye for decorating as well as fashion. She liked nice things and always made sure she was fixed up with a nice hairdo and makeup wearing her stylish clothes. Then her health started to to deteriorate. There was a huge gap of 10 years when we lived in Washington, where we didn't see each other often. We had periodical phone conversations and visits when we would come down to Southern California. I always felt that we could pick up where we left off as if we were never parted. I really hope she knew how much I really adored her. I tried very hard to convey that to her, especially when we lived with her last year for a 6 month stay as we were in transition. I believe God had us there to spend those 6 months with her as she was failing in health dramatically. I would go into her room every night ( as long as she was home and not in the hospital ) we would just talk for hours...We talked about everything. We talked about her life in depth, her feelings about family, faith and God as well as her deepest feelings, regrets, broken heart, shattered spirit and loneliness... We connected... It was beautiful but heartbreaking. Because this was not the same Gramma I knew growing up. She was worried, she struggled with her breathing, she would forget things and she started falling. The hardest thing I had to do was seeing her in the pain that she was in, she suffered not only in her health but with certain feelings in her heart. She could no longer bathe herself and we would have to pick her up off the floor when she had fallen. My heart broke, and I knew it was not going to be too much longer for her.
I see it as a gift. I had some really special moments with her during that 6 months and I learned a lot. There is so much more but it is too personal. I will hold it close with me...Because it was our time, no one elses. Before she passed away she had given me some of her things...Things I will hold dear and will always make me think of her as I use them in my life. The old pictures will always be a favorite of mine. As a visual person, I can really appreciate those things to look through and see her in them. I was really missing her the other day. I pass by my bedroom door and there is the picture of her and I before she passed away, I just sigh as my heart sinks. I pulled out the old photos of her as a young girl and her life in Latvia and America... I wish I could have been there to see those moments in person. I brought out my Latvian jewelry I have collected through the years, some were gifts, and some were hers...The beautiful silver rings and amber from her Country brings me closer to her in so many ways. Because I truly feel I can identify myself in her and my Latvian heritage. I ran across old letters that were written to her from family back in Latvia, Latvian cards and a photograph of the house she lived in as a girl. Pictured below is the house in color, which stands today. Next to that is a little black and white photo of her in the window of that house.
It gave me goosebumps and smiles.
Oh Gramma how I miss you.
The night before Gramma passed away she had been in and out of consciousness. My mom called me through facetime ( video chat ) where she allowed me to see my Gramma on the phone. I called out to her and told her how much I loved her and told her I loved her in Latvian.... God gave me one last gift, He gave my Gramma enough strength to open her eyes toward the phone as she nodded her head to me...Yes! I am certain Gramma heard me, I know she wanted to respond back. It was a gift enough to have that last moment with her even if it was through the video phone. I went to bed that night, hoping we could make it in time to see her in person the next day as we planned to drive...But the call had come in as the sun started to rise, that she had gone. Praise the Lord, for allowing me to tell her I loved her before she went into her eternal rest. We still made the trip and planned her intimate, private memorial...I was gifted her last two rings she wore when she passed away. Pictured below. They are beautiful. My sister had actually gifted them to her when she went to Latvia a few years back. But, my sister wanted me to have them.
My dream is to go back to my Grandparents homeland, where we have family there. Slowly I am socking away the funds...Lord willing I will make it there next Summer. I will go to her home and walk where she did and I will picture her there beside me. She desperately wanted to go back, but her health kept her from travelling. I will go for her and it will be glorious.