Guten Nacht, Schlaft Gut, Bis Morgen…

One of Markus’ earliest childhood memories began by his begging his Papa for them to go camping together. Nobody in the family had ever camped before, but Papa loved his son so much, he asked to borrow a tent and other equipment from a neighbour, and he and little Markus headed out from their Bavarian home to Papa’s favourite hiking spot in Northern Italy. It turned out that there were no campgrounds to be found, so Papa went into a Bed & Breakfast and charmed them into allowing Papa and Markus to set up the tent in the hotel garden so they could “camp.” A little boy’s dream came true because his Papa’s heart was big enough to leave his comfort zone to make his little boy happy. And true to Papa’s jolly nature, he and the innkeepers remained good friends their whole lives.

One of Emily’s earliest childhood memories is of her Opa (Markus’ Papa) standing with her in his living room, classical music blaring out of the stereo, while they both held sticks and “conducted.” He would affectionately scold her for walking barefoot in the house, without her “Schlapfen” (slippers) to keep her from catching cold.  Every night, he would give Emily “bussies” (kisses) and say, “Guten nacht, shlaft gut, bis morgen.”  “Good night, sleep well, see you in the morning.” At Christmas, he would disguise himself as Saint Nicholas and tell the children all the good things about them, and how they should improve the next year; little Emily stared in awe, totally believing. Markus’ whole family learned English for us, and Emily (a toddler) did her best to “teach” them. She had a special word she made up: Bootanana. Opa would ask, “Emily, what is Bootanana?” thinking he could increase his vocabulary. Then, Emily would point to a chair, “That is Bootanana, Opa.” And then she would point to the window, “And that is Bootanana.” And to Opa’s nose, “And THAT is Bootanana. Everything is Bootanana!” And then they would laugh and laugh. Opa absolutely adored Emily; so much so that I wondered if there would be any love left for brothers and sisters. But when Johanna and Simon came along, he overflowed with even more love. His heart just grew bigger.

One of my earliest memories of Paul (Papa/Opa) is hearing his booming laughter. Markus’ big sister Steffi would make silly jokes, and the whole family would burst into laughter, Paulie’s (pronounced “Powlie”) face would turn beet red, all the way up to the top of his shiny bald head, as he fought to catch his breath between giggles, tears streaming down his face. Sometimes, when he would call us on the phone wherever we were living, he would say something just to make me laugh, because he said the sound made him happy. He loved his God, he loved his family, he loved to laugh, he loved his music, he loved his FC Bayern futball team, he loved his wine, he loved his food. He loved.

Today, Opa slipped away from us, leaving behind aching holes in our hearts. After a painful and confusing time of struggling against his glioblastoma and his Alzheimer’s, he fell into a deep sleep, never to awaken. Throughout his life, the strength of his faith stayed true and unwavering. To the end, I believe he was comforted with the knowledge that he would be loved all the way to Heaven. And in Heaven, he would be healed and strong again. Our loss, Heaven’s gain. We miss you, Opa. You will always be loved.  Guten nacht, shlaft gut…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen grant
    Jun 17, 2015 @ 21:16:19

    Please pass our heartfelt condolences to all the family . To lose a father and a grandfather is very hard !But know that his unconditional love is with you always! What a wonderful man ! Love to you all!

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