I didn't write much about the transition from 2009 to 2010. Although we enjoyed the holidays and some extra time together as a family, it was not without sadness.

My last surviving grandparent, Oma Irma, passed away on an unknown day sometime between the 23rd and the 25th of December. She was found by the lady that did her shopping for her. My father has mentioned the gruesome scene that him and his wife encountered post body removal and I wish he wouldn't. Her ashes were spread in an anonymous urn field, a typical form of burial in Germany.

Over the years I have often felt guilty for not keeping in contact with my Oma more. Life being busy is an excuse that anyone can pull out of their pocket. The real reason we didn't speak much was mainly just the fact that I hardly knew her. When I did speak to her she was very hard to understand. She had a way of speaking... words, sentences, topics all blending together and before I knew it the telephone line would go dead before I had a chance to say goodbye.

I saw her growing up until the age of 5, then we moved to the States. After that I saw her twice when I was 13 - once because my Opa was dying (we were only 4 hours away when he passed), and another time that year for our scheduled vacation. During the 7 years that I lived in Germany I only saw her two more times that I can recall. Every time my Dad went to visit her I had to work or I was out of the country. It was a long haul to see her back then. We had to travel from Heidelberg to Bremen... Four times. That's it.

The last time I saw her was the only time we were able to have a fully understandable German conversation with each other. My Dad and I went together. I wanted to see Oma and the city that I grew up in once more before leaving Germany. For the first time I heard the stories of my Oma's hard life: the poverty, the war, the sicknesses. She gave me her family history in short, sometimes intelligible bouts of half-mumblings between puffs on her cigarette. It was also the time that she bestowed upon me her jewelry, special treasures and her wedding china. She must have known we wouldn't see each other again.

Oma suffered many years under one affliction after another. I should probably be happy that her suffering is over, but all I feel is an emptiness. Hollow. Like my heartbeat echos off the empty places that my loved ones left behind.

I am now orphaned of all grandparents.

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