Today I am remembering my dear, wonderful Oma, 14 years after her death. I greatly miss Diny’s deep love, dedication to prayer, encouraging temperament, joyful laughter, energetic spirit, sheer zest for life, loyalty to family… all those adorable, quirky qualities that inhabited her. She was a true delight! So often I called to hear her exclamations, “Oh, Carrrroline!” or when she called me, “This is your Oma, rrrrememberrrr me??” as if we could ever forget, dear one!
We would talk about life, parenting, how to navigate moving far away from family and starting over (she lived on 3 different continents in her lifetime!), how to struggle through painful moments and lean into the Lord, how to live well, and those moments in life which can only be considered miracles. So many events woven with the signature of God.
I would frequently call her to ask about her life, stories from being raised in the Dutch East Indies, the trials she survived in the Netherlands during World War II, her marriage to Opa, the various jobs he held, their friendships, relationships with family members, life Holland, moving to America, learning a new language… She called me her curious granddaughter because I asked so many questions. Through the work over those many years, I wrote her story, In Those Other Lands. It was a testimony of the Lord’s goodness, grace, and love.
As years pass, I am reminded of the brevity of life, and our most important call to love God, and love others, to extend grace, to seek the best in others, to live expectantly, optimistically. So much of my faith I attribute to Oma and to my mother, Marge, both strong women of the Lord, striving each day. Oma always lamented that I held her to a level of perfection, as though I esteemed her too highly because I never lived under her parenting, and I realize the blessing of those generational differences, the world that had changed so drastically since her birth in 1921.
Moreover, I am thankful for her intentional investment in my character. Oma was an incredible mentor, an important relationship spanning decades. I feel so honored to note the spiritual legacy she established in our family, and the example of 42 beautiful years of marriage to Opa. I am reminded of John 11:25, where Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” Ik hou van jou, heel veel, Meisje Oma!!