Auf wiedersehen, Opa.
Today, we really had to let you go.
Dont you know that the girls have been worrying, thinking ahead?
When they saw you thin and sick and not eating and in pain the whole time -- that few hours visit in the hospital left a very big impression. They were confused, and a little shocked.
When we left more than a year ago, you were still your usual, active self. The girls noticed the difference.
They wondered aloud if you would die. If you do, they asked where you would go. They wanted to know if you would be buried beside the oma (grandma), who left us two years ago. They are not sure if it is good for you to be placed on top of oma's grave. They insisted on passing by the cemetery to check oma's grave, which we did almost everyday.
They always got curious when there's a burial going on. They begged to see the open earth. They wanted to know what would really happen to you and where you would go.
And then, you are allowed to leave the hospital. The girls wanted to visit you. Unfortunately, you brought with you a virus that meant you have to be isolated; and gloves and mouth covers are needed to tend to you. We cannot risk the girls' health; although they do shout out loud 'OPA' whenever we pass by your house. Those were their usual antic before, remember? Those times, the girls decided to just draw all their love for you.
I think they understood although they have questions which we tried very hard to answer. Why could they not visit you when you are already at home? Because Opa have a bacteria that might endanger the health of kids like you. Why could we visit you and not them? Because we are bigger than you. Could they stay outside and say hello? Tomorrow, maybe. Could I have something that belongs to Opa? Of course, we would ask him.
I asked the girls to pray for you. The girls talks to Oma whenever we pass by the cemetery. We prayed for you, for the pain to go away. We asked Oma to hold your hands, if that would be possible. Maybe Oma could help you ease the pain?
And then November 17, around 3 am -- the call. Opa is dead.
The girls learned about it when they woke up. They wanted to see you. Maybe he is only on a deep sleep?
It was a normal day for them, they went to school. But back home, they wanted to do something for you. They drew and drew -- finished a handful of drawings; for you, for Oma; and from IC, a drawing for God which you are supposed to bring to Him up there. The same night, when we have exhausted ourselves with storytelling and drawings -- MC suddenly realized that she wont be able to see you anymore, and the tears came.
We told her it is okay to cry. It is okay to be sad. We told her that you are still there for her; just that she cannot see you anymore. That she could always talk to you, anytime, anywhere. Like Oma, you are now an angel, too.
That decided it, the girls wanted to see you. Armed with their drawings for you, for Oma and for God; we went and viewed your body. They saw you: in white, with a white pillow and a white blanket. They said you look great. They left their drawings there, too; and some tears.
After that, they took it all in stride. They helped in almost everything especially everything about you. And today, during your funeral; they get dressed because they wanted to look good for you. They listened to the whole rites, and held themselves proud when their names were mentioned.
They participated and observed. They joined the coffee and cakes afterwards.
In the end, they walked back with us to the cemetery. They wanted to see if you are comfortable. They saw the flowers covering your fresh grave; and asking for your permission (The Opa said yes!), took each a stem of flower. They wanted to let it try and leave it pressed between the pages of their favorite books.
Happy with the flowers, they waved and laughingly said, 'Opa, du bist der Beste. Tschuss!' (Grandpa, you are the best, bye!)