Maria Olbrich

 In Inspiration, Weekly Forum Discussion

I want to share with you a very special person.  This is my grandma Maria Olbrich.  (Mimi) Although she passed away 2 years ago in my arms at 90 not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.

We have a very small family so my grandma was always close.  (There were only 5 of us growing up)  She always lived on the same property or just next door.  When my father died I couldn’t bear for her to be alone in Winnipeg so Doug and I moved her to Invermere.  As tough as the last 2 years were (she had dementia and was blind) we got to spend those last two years together.  I am so grateful we had the guts to do it against my mother’s wishes.  (It was Mimi’s wish to be close to us)

My grandma was one quirky lady.  She was always dressed like a princess and always very proper.  What I admire most about her is that no matter what this life threw at her she always handled it positively.  This woman had been through a war, lost everything, lost a baby who starved due to not having enough food during war time, (my mom is an only child), her hubby was shot in the war, he also died at a very young age (he was her true love and she never remarried), she had dementia from very early on (I’m now wondering if it helped her cope), and started going blind around age 65.

They came to Canada when my mom was 3.  She left her whole family who she was very close to and started over here with absolutely nothing.  They were ridiculed for not being able to speak English in Canada (why they never taught us German) but they were extremely determined and wouldn’t give up.  They worked so hard in a bakery and eventually were offered to take it over.

They had the best bakery in Winnipeg.  It is still there today.  It did so well that they were able to retire very early, bought a cottage and spent most days there.  (my mom still lives there and we go home every year there.  Also, the house my father passed in. (I think my mom will have to sell it this summer so I will need my grandmother’s grace to let go of that one).

The reason I am telling you all her negative stories is I want you to know that in my whole life I never saw my grandmother yell, get angry, swear, (I missed that lesson), or hold a grudge.  We often shed tears together but to see the positivity in this woman after all her heartache was something that has made me who I am today.  I definitely get angry but in times of loss and heartache I think of what she would do or say.  How would she get through this?  She was the lady that always sang You Are My Sunshine and Everything Is Beautiful.  She taught me there is a light at the end of every tunnel.

If she made it through this life positively so will I.

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