Friday, June 25, 2010
It's done. My beloved Oma has moved to an assisted living facility. The move is quite against her will. She thinks she is still capable of taking care of herself and living on her own, thank you very much. Of course, she can still drive. Except that she can't. Doctors orders. Of course, she still cooks, it is her life long passion after all, except she no longer remembers how to even cook eggs. Dementia has whisked her out the door of her home, her sanctuary, her stalwart identity of independence. The house at 296 Lake Street, my Oma's house, has lost its soul.
In that house, that suddenly silent house, stands a room that lives more poignantly in my heart than any other I've known. It is the room of comfort and joy. It is, it was my Oma's dining room. My entire life has been made up of occasions, large and small, that were celebrated, as a family, in that room. Some of the best meals of my life were served there, bathed in evening light; the earthy red cabbage (rot kohl) only Germans can properly prepare, the whipped cream tortes, the homemade pickled pumpkin, the meal-of-my-dreams that will never be served again with the same love or perfect hand, pfutchens and wine soup.
For the past 2 years I accepted every invitation to dine in that room, knowing that each meal could be the last. As all things do, the end has come. The gatherings pass into memory, the world turns, the evening light is extinguished. She is still here, but not there. There in the house of independence and love, and the room of my comfort and joy.