My Oma died on the day before my 21st birthday on August 10th, 2011. She was 90 years old. In the months before her death I found myself wanting to visit her and take her picture, and even though she was still healthy and as sharp as a tack, I felt like I didn't have much time left to do it.
Because I live in Australia and she lived in New Mexico, visiting was difficult. So I wrote her a letter, sent it away, and before long I received the news that she had gone.
A week later I opened my mailbox to a letter postmarked August 4th, 2011. It was from my Oma, written by my Uncle Frank who lived with her (I suppose it was too difficult for her to write anymore.) I stood at the mailbox and cried, reading what Uncle Frank had scribed for Oma, " we miss you, we will be celebrating your birthday in absentia with a tequila "
When I finally traveled back to the States at Christmas, my Papa and I made a pilgrimage to her house in New Mexico, his childhood home, 850 miles across the entire state of Texas in a foggy, snowy storm so that I could say goodbye to my Oma and take the pictures of her (in absentia) that I had wanted to take for so long.