Luther Burbank said: "Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul."
I think of Frida Loeffler as a beautiful flower who made everyone she met a better person. Her smile beamed like sunshine, her love of food was legendary, and a hug from "Oma" made any ailment better.
Oma was born during the First World War, in 1917.
It was the same year both the electric drill and marshmallow fluff were invented, and that Christmas lights were first commercially available to light up our lives. Oma was one of the brightest lights in my life, and I will see her sparkling in every Christmas light from now on.
Oma lived a hard life filled with the challenge of beginning over and over again.
Orphaned at 6, she had to go live with a new family. She survived the Second World War, but lost her home and belongings.
Oma told me stories of throwing her body over my dad's during bombing to protect him. When the war was over, Oma and Opa immigrated to Canada. Oma spent her first year here in indentured servitude on a Saskatchewan farm.
Settling in Goodsoil, Sask., she trained as a nurse's aide, then worked at the local hospital. She hated to see any person or critter suffer.
Some years later, they moved to Edmonton and she began working at Misericordia Hospital.
With other family members and friends from the Sudetenland, she introduced us to German food and culture, and shared her love of sausages across multiple generations.
After two decades in Edmonton, Oma and Opa headed to the Okanagan Valley for their retirement. She revelled in her garden and often sent us boxes of fruit. They spent their days hiking the surrounding mountains, often searching for mushrooms and wildflowers.
On many Mother's Days, I had wonderful phone conversations with Oma. I would say how amazing it was to still have my Oma, and she would always answer, "Whatever comes, comes!"
I often asked: "Did you ever think you would live to be 91, 92, 93 or 94?" She answered: "Oh no, I thought I would be dead at 60 since everyone in my family died early."
T.A. Loeffler is Frida's granddaughter.