My Oma and Opa have been married sixty-six years this September.
They met during World War II in occupied Holland while Oma was walking her dog. Opa made a comment about her dog which was a great opportunity to introduce himself. They talked. They fell in love.
Opa was at a workcamp in Poland and got permission to return to Amsterdam for a week to marry his bride. He was scheduled to take the 4:00 train but got to the station early so he took the 2:00 train. The 4:00 train was bombed and most people died. Because of God's grace covering him...he was alive and now three generations past him are too.
They got married during the war. Oma found a beautiful suit, wore second hand pumps and had flowers collected from all the neighbours' gardens. As gifts, they received ration cards for food, highly prized.
They had three daughters and one son. They moved to Canada with their family to create a new life for their children. They adapted to a new culture. They settled into a new community.
Ups and downs of many years. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Camping trips and swimming. Their only son lost to a car accident. Family birthdays. Celebrations. Their tight schedule of tea times, mealtimes, coffee and cookie times.
At their 65th anniversary last summer.
Until two years ago, they happily lived in their little routine in their home, enjoying their family, but health problems finally became a reality. They moved to a care center and with further health problems this year, Oma has had to move to another care facility after an extended hospital stay.
Their first time apart in 66 years. My mum says when Opa comes to visit he holds her hands and kisses her cheek. She says, "Isn't he handsome?" They miss each other. The comfort of familiar love.
My mum said that the last time she was there, Oma took Opa's hands and said to him in Dutch, "Wouldn't it be something if we could get in a little car and drive ourselves to heaven?" Mum and I cried when she told me. Trying to navigate the end of a life is a hard thing.
"Until heaven and then forever" is a pledge that they have taken entirely to heart. And their whole family is blessed because of them.
Happy anniversary, Oma and Opa. I love you. I want to make 66 years too.