Though I was pretty sure I must’ve experienced enough loss for the universe to give me a bit of a break for at least the beginning of 2015, it seems the universe doesn’t care about such tallies, and tragedy struck yet again, this time taking away my remaining grandfather. The first thing I remember getting out semi-coherently after hearing the news, just over a week ago, was: “Now I have no Opas. I feel crooked, off balance somehow.” As my man didn’t quite understand what I was saying, I elaborated: “My Opas are where I get my names from, my dad’s last name and my mom’s maiden name. Now both sources of my names, my family identities, are gone. So I’m off balance.” Does that make sense at all? It did at the time, though a more accurate way of stating it might be that I feel narrower, now that the outer two people on this wedding picture of ours are no longer.
Perhaps due to the circumstances of his last few years (he had dementia, and was already in that state the last time I saw him), I was a bit more present at the funeral and family visiting afterwards (as opposed to the funeral of my other Opa, seen above on the right), so I was able to absorb the stories and ask my Oma questions without bursting into tears. So, among other things, I learned that, before immigrating to Canada, my Opa was a shoe maker, of all things (and, apparently, there was a bunch of girls waiting in line for him, in case my Oma turned him down). I already knew from scanning some pictures I had stolen years ago (such as those at the top, dated to the early 1950s) that he was a very dapper fellow with a penchant for wearing suits. So, though I don’t share his name, perhaps my sartorial sensibilities were maternally inherited. And if I were ever in charge of designing a collection or photo shoot, my Opa would definitely be the starting point (sorry every male model ever, you have nothing on my Opa). At any rate, this might be my favorite photo ever, of my beautiful Opa and Oma. Sigh.