Just outside of Arlington National Cemetery, I sit here in this small hotel room with my two kids and wife in tow. We have come to say goodbye or I should say, celebrate the life of my Grandmother Lt. Irene (Jaloski) Overath. Our room is cramped and piled high with two car fulls of things for every possible scenario that two small children could possibly need. Per our normal standard operating procedure, we have somehow managed to forget something that was of major need for the kids. This time it was a small things like diapers and food. Somehow these small necesities couldn't make it in our two vehicles that we brought in tow. It is times like these, I wonder how the true Wonder Woman in my life did it. She raised eight kids, fought a world war, helped care for the thousands of soldiers lives, and somehow managed to keep my grandfather forever devoted to her.
Raised in the coal fields of western Pennsylvania, my grandmother learned the value of hard work and the modesty of her blue collar immigrant parents. Throughout the years, she would always say to me, how our family's farm reminded her of her own childhood. She would tell me stories of West Deer. She would tell me the stories of the men that worked the mines. It seemed insignificant to me at the time, but as the older I got, I realized she was teaching me the same values that was passed down to her. We connected on this level. She made me feel special and unique. The older I got, I realized she did this with everyone of us. To understand the magnitude of, you have to look at the numbers; eight children, seventeen grandchildren, and now six (soon to be seven) great-grandchildren . She never ran out of love.
I'll miss her wonderful laugh. I'll miss her cut throat style of playing skipbo. I'll miss the wonderful visits. Most of all, I'll miss her strength. My mom said it best, somewhere up there, her and Opa are driving around in their motorhome. I'm sure that every once in a while, they'll check in on us, just when we need it most. I love you Oma....