Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tribute to Opa...

My opa (grandpa) was a great man and I want to acknowledge that today. He was bright and influential. Not only was he a teacher but he was also actively involved in society as a musician and a politician. And at his funeral all of these aspects were brought to light. Opa had a positive influence on many lives. He will be missed.

Seeing as us kids grew up abroad we actually did not spend loads of time with opa as children. However, the times we did spend with him were special. I remember sleepovers at their house when we were on furlough - playing in the attic with all of our toys, riding opa's stationary bike in his study, eating french fries and applesauce, going to pick berries, rides on the sled, going to the petting zoo, story time. Opa and Oma did fun things with us kids when they got the chance. As an adult I tried to visit opa and oma when I could. But over the years, opa's health deteriorated yet he remained a caring and friendly opa.

Just before leaving Sierra Leone to come for my holiday I heard that opa had turned for the worse. I knew that this would likely be the last time I would see him. Shortly after arriving in Holland I went to see my opa, who had moved into a nursing home in the last 2 months. I spent 5 hours with him and my oma but for the most part opa was asleep. On Wednesday I returned for my final goodbye before going to a wedding in England. (The wedding was the whole reason for me making this trip) I was very fortunate (blessed) that opa was awake. I sat by his bed and talked with him and read Psalm 23 to him. As the minutes went by, my visit was drawing to an end. It was time to say goodbye. And this time, I knew it was the final goodbye. I am not sure if opa knew it as well, I suspect he did. With tears in my eyes I told him goodbye and said "I love you" and to my surprise (since he had hardly spoken prior to this) he responded saying "I love you too". These were our final words and this is also one of the last times my opa spoke. The next day he was unconscious and the following day he passed away. I was so thankful for my special farewell. I wouldn't have changed it for the world. The funeral service was a lovely reminder of who opa was and although difficult a good time of closure. I will miss my opa but I know he is now in a better place. Dag lieve opa...

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~