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Oma and Opa (#7)
I adore both of you forever.
But one of you passed away the other day.
The morning of the 15th of February.
The morning after my celebrated Valentine's Day.

Dear Oma.
You've passed on. You've left us. No more.
Opa is empty. Alone. Wanting to escape. End.
But we'll not let him. Not with our love.

Dear Oma,
You died in Opa's arms. Lifeless. After 65 years wed.
Your great grandson says "Omama died, Omama died"
He knows and he'll know your legend. Your story. Your love. 
We'll teach him and your little baby great granddaughter too.

Dear Oma,
At age 90. So many battles won. I'm so happy to have known you.
For my 29 years. So very proud that you made it to this point.
So very proud that you were able to attend
your great grandson's third birthday celebration.
Just 10 days before you left us

Dear Oma,
I missed you at home. I only saw your box draped at the home of funerals.
I had the most silent car ride to the cemetery. With Opa and Dad. It was so quiet. 
You could hear the wind speak. You could hear the tears roll on one's cheek.
You could hear birds sing in Lithuania. You could hear the leaves sway on the trees.

Dear Oma,
You could hear sorrow from each mourner's footsteps.
We buried you completely. Your fragile pale body placed in a pine wood box.
Lowered to the dirt at the bottom of the grave. We did what Dad dreamed of.
What Dad needed to do. Shovel after shovel. We buried you completely in dirt.
We did not stop until the grave was full. Completely.
Suit jackets off. Shirts cuffed up. Shovel after shovel.
Why? Because your two sisters and mother never got,
the proper burial from the Nazis.
On your day, with our hearts, with our kindness, with gentle care,
we buried you and properly buried your sisters and mother.
We did with our tears, our sweat, our souls, our love.
Because we love you all. 
As soon as we finished. The drizzle began.
The drizzle quickly turned to rain to pour.
Giving flowers around the earth a chance to grow.

Dear Oma,
I have a blister on my thumb from the shovel. My arms and hands are a bit sore.
I've washed mud and dirt from my shoes. My heart aches for you and Opa.
Opa says, "That's it, it's all over."
Opa says, "I want to go up. I want to go away."
Opa says, "Maybe I should stop eating."
Opa says, "I want Rochelle back"
Oma - I want you to know. I'll be here forever.
For your Martin. For your Marshall.
For your Cara. For Jordan. For Sophie.
I will take care of them. For I have the loving strength from you.

Dear Oma,
Dad looks at his old Bar Mitzvah photograph album.
Places his finger upon each persons face.
He says "Gestorben, Gestorben, Gestorben," and he arrives,
at your beautiful face and with tears shared by all he says,

Dear Oma,
We ate Cervelot Wurst the other day.
In your honor. In your kindness. In your love.
I wrote the warmest Eulogy. I think I'll read it every year.
More than once. As I look at photographs of you.
Such beautiful memories. Such wonderful memories.
You will not be forgotten.

Dear Oma,
Phone calls were made. Cookies were shared.
I will visit the Vermont mountains.
I will visit Auschwitz. I will visit Lithuania.
I will go to Second Avenue Deli. I will go to services.

Dear Oma,
I've been taking care of Opa for days now.
Sleeping with him. Putting him to bed. Caressing his hair.
Kissing him. Holding him. Speaking to him with my eyes.
Speaking to him with my soft voice. Spending time with him.
At his pace. His aging slow pace. His warm pace.
I've been eating dinner with him at the dining hall.
You should see all the people coming up to him.
You were special to all. An extraordinary being.

Dear Oma,
I will never forget. I will always remember.
So much sadness. Yet for me, I have happiness.
For I know how much you changed the world.
For I know how much you have changed my life.
And how much you made my life better.

Dear Oma,
I love you.
I will love you forever.
Thank you for you.
I love you.

 2005 David Greg Harth