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My Oma, My Dragon of Memory

Eda Marie

By Eda MariePublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024

The last time I saw my Oma she was old, small, tired, and in pain; lying in an oversized chair, wrapped in blankets with a cast on her arm and two nurses at her side. I remember placing my hand upon her and saying "goodbye Oma, I love you." I didn't plan on it being the last time. 4 hrs later I got a phone call. She had passed away in her sleep, just minutes after I had left. This is the last image of her that I hold in my mind. But that was far from all of her.

Although she loomed huge in my life my Oma was a tiny little woman at 4'8". Born in Germany in 1921, she grew up in a time of rebuilding from the 1st world war, and lived through the devastation of the 2nd. After losing two husbands to the war, a number of miscarriages, and 40 years as a high school teacher, she moved to Canada after my mother. That is where I came to know her as the woman who dominates most of my memories and helped to shape me into the woman I am today.

For such a tiny little woman her presence could fill an auditorium, a room was too small. Mayhap it came from dealing with hundreds of teenagers over the years. She only ever spoke German to myself and my siblings and we learned the language from her. I still speak it to this day, grateful that I have the knowledge and the chance to do so. She was never loud. She never needed to be. She simply wasn't someone that I ever crossed and I'm certain I tried her patience enough that she could have been loud. Wherever she went she almost always wore a skirt suit and blouse. She used to tell me that to be respected you first had to respect yourself, be it on the inside or the outside.

I learned many things from her. To speak our family's language, to recognize healing herbs and plants, to respect myself, to respect others. She always opened the doors for myself and my siblings to learn. Her home was always full of plants and music and drying herbs and a variety of visitors. I remember she tried to teach me to sew, and knit, and weave. I say 'tried.' I wasn't very good at sitting still.

Over the years that she was alive, and during my growing and formative years she took me with her on her travels back to Germany. She showed me her homes in Gunzenhausen and in Ansbach, towns in Southern Germany. I met members of our family I never knew and was introduced to a multitude of opportunities and people. Oma showed me the paths that she used to walk with her father when she was young. She inherited her love of teaching from him, and I think also her political astuteness and tact. I met many of her students from over the years and it became apparent to me that she loomed as large in their memories as she does in mine.

One student of hers told me that Oma was soooo short that whenever she taught a class she had to stand on a box behind the desk just to reach up the blackboard! Everywhere we went she was welcome and respected. This tiny woman with the huge presence was the dragon in my life. It has been almost three years since she passed and I still have moments where I want to tell her something, or I hear a sound that makes me think of her, or I feel like I just need to walk into the next room and she'll be there. I wish she was. She lived 100 years, from 1921 to 2021, and I think she was the dragon in the life of many people, not just my own.


About the Creator

Eda Marie

I am an avid reader and aspiring writer, most of what I write here is in the attempt to find my voice, mother of two, full-time teacher and caregiver, and have a passion for language and communication.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (16)

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  • Oneg In The Arcticabout a month ago

    The size of her heart and knowledge is what made her tall!

  • You captured the dragon heart-- lovely story

  • Eda, your loving remembrance of your Oma wonderfully conveys the priceless memories she left behind as well as her enduring impact.

  • Angelomoney2 months ago

    Nice one

  • Eda Marie (Author)2 months ago

    Thank you to everyone for your comments and encouragement 😊 This was a difficult story to write, and as Charlene Ann mentioned, I suppose it is a eulogy; although I didn't look at it that way. Thank you for reading.

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! Sounds like your Oma and my Gma would have loved strolling together through gardens. They were both tiny physical presences whose impact reverberated for miles and across generations.

  • PK Colleran2 months ago

    Well written, lovely story. 💙

  • Sav Map2 months ago


  • Your eulogy of Oma is a lovely celebration of her timeless spirit and impact, presenting a clear portrait of an extraordinary lady whose influence still shapes and inspires people she came in contact with.

  • Wonderful heartfelt story

  • Test2 months ago

    Amazing job! Keep up the outstanding work—congrats!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Many thanks for sharing this story. I loved it and can feel what she means to you and your family.

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Beautiful!! I understand you, I wrote about my Grandmother too. She's an angel!🥹 https://vocal.media/families/thank-you-mama

  • Chloe Gilholy2 months ago

    Beautiful story about Oma.

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    Wow! What a dragon Oma was. 100 years...dragon indeed. Small lady...larger than life heart.

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