I lost my mother in September. Her name was Martha.
Martha grew up in Germany during World War II. She was a child when the bombs would strike at night. There was not much food. They had to make do with potatoes and barley. Martha was sent to be a nanny with a doctor’s family when she was a teenager. This way she would have a safe house to sleep in and food to eat. My mother and her family watched the wall being built that would divide Germany into East and West Germany. The family fled to West Germany.
My father also grew up in Germany and made the trip to Canada as a young man. He had been told it was a land of opportunity. He became lonely in Canada and wanted a good German woman to be his wife. He put an ad in a German newspaper and my mother responded. He brought her to Canada and she traveled on a large ship to meet her new future and the man who would be her husband.
My parents were married for 63 years. During that time, our family never went hungry. Martha always made sure there was food on the table. My father and I loved graupensuppe (barley soup) but my mother did not enjoy it. It brought back memories of the difficult times in Germany. We also adopted a number of people into our family. We had aunts, uncles, and cousins. Being far from family was not easy for my parents.
During Martha’s last years, she developed dementia. She also had high blood pressure but she would not go to the doctor in the last two years. She had a massive stroke. I can be grateful that I was able to spend time with my mother before she passed in September.
Time passes so quickly. Even though I know my mother lived a long, good life, it hurts to not have her here physically. Treasure the time you have with family and let them know how special they are.