Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A long overdue update

Well it’s been awhile since I posted anything…I’ve had a hard time dealing with the loss of my Opa and with Omi still in the hospital things have been pretty hectic on our end.  I’ve been working on moving all their accounts into my Omi’s name as well as working on a DVD slideshow of his life to play when we have the Celebration of Life.  On a positive note, Omi was moved to a rehab hospital on Friday March 18th and has been getting better every day.  Hopefully she will be able to come home soon.  I need to start getting back to normal day-to-day life and hopefully that will help me feel better as well.  This is my first big family loss so its hit me pretty hard.  My grandparents were such a big part of my life and the kid’s lives that it’s so hard to imagine that Opa won’t be a part of their lives anymore.  I know I will always have my memories, but the kids are so young that Hayden might have a memory or two, but Bevin won’t remember him at all.  I put a framed picture of Opa with them from Christmas 2009 in each of their rooms and every day I ask Bevin who’s in the picture and she tells me “Opa!”

Bevin is still getting her shots on a weekly basis and the past two weeks I have given her the shot, all by myself!  I was so proud of the two of us for accomplishing shot night just the two of us (normally someone has to hold her down while the other administers the shot).  She is still quite squirmy, but I managed it.  The weather was pretty crappy the last week or so (really rainy) so her JRA was acting up a little and she kept telling us her right knee was hurting her, but the past few days she seems to be doing a little better.

We are still working on the Recycling Fundraiser and as of our last donation drop off on Saturday March 19th we have raised a total of $182.71 just from recyclables!  Hopefully after the next drop off we will break $200.  Total the team has raised $1085!!!  This being the first year we have participated in the walk I’m very proud of our donation accomplishment.  My team goal started out at $500 and I am so proud that we have not only surpassed the original goal, but more than doubled it with more than a month to go until Walk Day.  I don’t know how some teams raise $5,000, $10,000 or even $15,000 between working, raising kids, etc, but I know I am damn proud to have raised $1085! J

Hayden helping to turn in the recyclables

We are having team T-shirts made as well; the T-shirt guy we are working with is giving us a great deal on the team shirts!  If anyone wants one I will need to know how many and the size, the shirts will be $10 per shirt.  We do need to let the T-shirt guy know the number of shirts and sizes ASAP and so please let me know right away if you want one.

Bevin will go in for more labs in apx 3-4 weeks and another follow-up appointment.  We are still waiting for the new Rheumatologist to come in (apx August) so in the mean time we are still being seen by her pediatrician, which is just fine with me because he is AWESOME!

One really cool thing that happened was a week or so before Opa died, I received a friend request on Facebook from a girl asking if Klaus Gerbe was my grandpa because he was her grandpa’s brother.  Turns out she is Opa’s great-niece, Nadine, and she had found my mom and I by searching Opa’s name online!  I’ve never met anyone from my Opa’s family except his sister because they all still live in Germany.  And it was so coincidental that she contacted me when she did.  Opa’s sister died in 2007, but he has 2 brothers, Peter and Rainer, and Rainer is Nadine’s Opa.  My mom and her dad, Bert, had spent time together when my mom had traveled to Germany in the past so it was such a cool thing that she found us.  Nadine and I have been staying in constant contact ever since.  I love having this connection to Opa’s family.

Friday, March 4, 2011

R.I.P. Opa

On Wednesday March 2nd, my Opa passed away…it was something we knew was coming, but was also very sudden.  My Opa had been sick for some time, but had been holding on.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, he went into the hospital on 02/11/11.  He returned home on 02/17/11 and never really got better.  Last weekend he took a big turn for the worst and on Tuesday, March 1st Hospice came in.  They made him comfortable and after a few doses of morphine he fell asleep at apx 2pm that Tuesday and never really woke up.  He went just before 11am on Wednesday.  He was ready to go and made sure we all knew how much he loved us.  He always told us he wanted to go at home, in his chair and in his sleep.  Thanks to Hospice we were able to make two of those three things happen.  His last sleep was the most peaceful I think he’s slept in a long time and his breathing was calmer than it’s been since I can’t even remember.  He was surrounded by myself, my mom and my aunt when he passed and we didn’t leave his side his last 48 hours.  Sadly my Omi and he never got to say good-bye.  Her ventilator came out on Monday 02/28/11, but by that time Opa was to far gone to go see her at the hospital or even call her and say good-bye.  The last time they saw each other was 02/11/11 when she went to visit him at the hospital (she was admitted to a different hospital the next day).  They were married for 52 years last November.  Unfortunately because my Omi had been in the hospital and on the ventilator she didn’t know how bad Opa had gotten and because we needed her to focus on herself and fight to get better we couldn’t tell her.  Wednesday afternoon after Opa passed we had to go to the hospital and tell my Omi that her husband had died.  He tried so hard to hold on until she came home, but he just couldn’t hold on anymore.

My Opa was truly a great man, I couldn’t ask for a better grandfather.  I was/am extremely close to my grandparents and they are more like a second set of parents to me than grandparents.  It’s hard to believe that he is really gone…I keep hoping this is some horrible dream and I will go to their house and he will call from the back room “Hi sweetie!” as he sat in his chair like always.  My mom and I went to their house Thursday before we went to make his arrangements and their house has never seemed so empty and quiet.  Even thou he was only in the living room (where Hospice put the hospital bed) the last 24 hours of his life, the living room now seems empty without him.  I am very grateful I was able to be with him the last couple days of his life…I just hope at the end he knew my mom, my aunt and I were there with him holding his hands.

He was born in Magdeburg, Germany and escaped to Canada where he met my Omi in late 1957.  In 1963 they moved to Sacramento, CA and have lived here ever since.  He was a typewriter repair man his whole life and opened his own shop where he worked until he retired apx 10 years ago.  He was also an avid golfer…boy did he love to golf.

He leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Anni, daughters Evelyn and Manuela, grandchildren Nicholas, Suzanne and Nicole and great-grandchildren Hayden (his little Dude) and Bevin (his little sweetheart).
I will always remember what he told me the week before he died while I was sitting with him on one of the last good days he had; “I saw a lot of people die when I was young, but I made it this far; I had a good life.  I had a two beautiful daughters who gave me three beautiful grandchildren and a beautiful granddaughter who gave me my two beautiful great-grandchildren.  I’m almost 76 and have had a long life, who could ask for anything more?  Some days could’ve been better and some days could’ve been worse, but overall I’ve had a pretty good life and I couldn’t ask for anything else.  It’s time for me to go.”
He will be greatly missed…

RIP Opa and happy golfing
March 10th, 1935-March 2nd, 2011