Words To Live By, From My Oma

Words To Live By, From My Oma

You are my rock.

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Picture this. It's the middle of the day, you're sitting on your living room couch and suddenly feel the vibration of a train from the train tracks that run through your backyard. Just like any other day, you run outside to count the railcars as they fly by.

However, today was a little different. You see hundreds of Jewish children waving and cheering through the train windows. Confused as to why you didn't get to join the fun, you wave back.

Fast forward a couple of years and you figure out those kids were on their way to concentration camps and they were as clueless as you.

Born and raised in Nuland, Holland, this was one of the many events my Oma, also known as "Grandma" in Dutch, lived through as a child.

Whether it be following and waving to each car as they pull out of her gravel driveway or calling up her family in the Netherlands just to see how they are doing, my Oma never fails to leave an impact on my life, on the lives of our family, and on anyone she meets. I admire her passion for positivity and helping others, along with her pride and companionship. My Oma is the strongest person I know, and there's no denying at the fact that she is my motivation and greatest role model.

With that in mind, my Oma has taught me quite a few lessons that I will not only pass on to others, but cherish forever.

1. Family comes first

Losing her mom at the age of 4, living during World War 2 and the Holocaust, and finishing school early in the 7th grade, joining her seven sisters and three brothers to work on their family farm, my Oma wasn't afraid. Spending hours in the garden and milking cows on the daily, she played a huge role in taking part in the family needs.

2. Just keep moving

There isn't a day that goes by where my Oma doesn't walk at least two miles. Living by her motto of "just keep moving, and see the beauty that is right in front of you," she stays grateful for the wonderful life that she has been given.

3. Laugh, it is good for the soul

With great health and amazing stories to tell, my Oma never stops smiling. Her contagious laugh makes you realize that her heart is full of gratitude. Whether it's family or someone she meets at the local farmers market, she never fails to make someone's day.

4. Be the light

My Oma went through a lot during her childhood. WW2 was going on when she was only 5 years old. During this time, her and her 10 siblings lived in an insulated hole for six weeks, that her dad built as a bomb shelter during the war. Not having a mother to comfort and care for her throughout these hard times made her the strong, independent person she is today.

5. Love endlessly

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Marrying at a young age of 21 years old, my Oma and Opa traveled to the United States by boat for their honeymoon. They loved it so much, they decided to pack up their things and move to America. Ever since, they have only gone back to the Netherlands to visit family and friends.

Being the youngest and only granddaughter of the family, there hasn't been a time spent with my Oma when she doesn't go on and on about how lucky she is to have a granddaughter. Well, Oma, you are my light, all my laughter, you will forever be my sunshine on a cloudy day, and I am even more lucky to have an Oma like you.

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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A Letter To My Grandma Before We Say Goodbye

There are some things I want you to know before you go...

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Dear Mom-Mom,

I want you to know a few things before it's time for us to say goodbye— most importantly that I love you! I may not have shown that when I was younger and said some mean things, but that was then and this is now. I have and always will love you. You have always shown me unconditional love, and nothing can ever compare. I am sorry for the fight we had when I was younger and compared you to my other grandma because you are just as wonderful and I love you just as much. I never want you to think I don't love you because I always have and always will love you.

Thank you. Thank you for always looking after me and giving me all that you could offer. I still remember when I was younger and would go to your house after school every Friday and order that gross pizza you and I both hated, but Pop loved it. We would play all night until mom and dad came to get me. Thank you. Thank you for taking me out to buy toys or to eat at my favorite places. You always made sure I was at my happiest. I love you.

You are so strong. Remember when they told you, you didn't have that much longer to live. You only had a couple of years. That was my first birthday. You told them to let you out to right now to celebrate and they listened. But you didn't listen to them when they told you that you only had so much longer. You showed them. Here you are, 19 years later still showing them that those couple of years meant nothing, and they don't know what they're talking about. You are the strongest woman I know, and I am humbled to call you my grandmother. I love you.

Even right now, with all you are going through, you continue to show them they're wrong. You continue to keep living your life and not letting the doctors bring you down. You determine when it's time. You will never change. You still are always offering me food when I am over, cracking jokes and, of course, still being your feisty self. No matter what you go through, you always come out your strong, feisty self. You are amazing. I aspire to be you one day. Raising a family of four kids then taking in two more because that's the type of person you are. You are generous, kind hearted, funny and wonderful. There is no way I can come close to being as wonderful as you, but I can and will try. I love you.

It hurts me to think that days with you are slowly coming to an end, but that doesn't mean it's goodbye forever. I know you will always be by my side. I am so grateful for that. I am grateful for everything you have done for me. I know you will always look down on me to ensure I am being my best self and never lose sight of what is important. Keep pushing through and being the strong woman you are. I love you so much.

Love,

Emily

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