Requiescat in pace

My father-in-law passed away peacefully this afternoon.

The nurse wasn't able to dress him this morning, he just stayed in bed. Couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't take his medicine. He died holding my mother-in-law's hands.

Even though we knew he was dying, even though he is now free of his pain, it is still unbelievably sad to have him pass on. Not only because we become aware of now becoming the "oldest generation", but because we will miss him, terribly.

One couldn't ask for a better father-in-law. He welcomed me openly and honestly the very first time I came to visit as the new girlfriend. He would do anything for you, and was always interested in what I was doing. He was proud of all that I accomplished. I managed to get a copy of the German magazine "Focus" last Sunday for him. He couldn't really read it, but I read it to him. It was actually just a crappy advertisment-masquarading-as-article for some software with a quote from me that was not exactly what I said (it never is) and didn't really fit. But they published a nice, three-year-old picture of me with students, and he liked that.

He meant a lot to me, and I loved his presents of things from his garden. He liked to work in the garden, puttering around and doing stuff. In the summer and fall I always left with bags of apples and potatoes, berries and tomatoes, whatever was just ripe in the garden.

He was a worry-wort, always concerned about things that might go wrong. He worked as a tool-and-die maker, worked hard all his life. He was very creative, was often making things at work in the shop, little tools that were very effective for particular jobs. He probably should have applied for patents on much of this stuff, but he didn't feel they were very high-tech. Just something to get the job done. Nothing to write home about, he felt.

He spoke Low German with his wife and siblings, but was always particular to be speaking High German with us. He would sometimes translate something my mother-in-law was saying, as she usually spoke with a lot of Low German words. In a way that was a shame - I would have liked to learn to speak Low German, although I can understand a good bit of it by now.

He loved sports, any kind of sports. I think the World Cup in soccer and the European Championships in track and field kept him going. He could at least still listen to the results on the TV. He used to turn the radio off if they were giving soccer results before the Sportschau, as that would ruin his excitement when watching it. He liked St. Pauli and VfB Lübeck soccer teams. The two played together in Lübeck the week before he died, with VfB Lübeck winning. His sister went to the game and called to tell him about it.

We'll miss you, Opa. I hope you get a good seat in heaven with lots of good soccer to watch.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I am so sorry. But, keep in mind, he will never be away completely - he will live on in the memory of a lot of people (as far as I understand your description of him). You will always take him with you in your hearts. Like I do with the ones I love.

Nevertheless. It hurts a lot. No words can ease your pain these days.