Today we are together as the Feist family, saying goodbye to the matriarch of the family – lovely Rose Ann (Neigum) Feist. This vibrant and kind woman lived 92 years on earth and in my life for about 10 years. I realize how lucky Mark and I are to have a grandparent as we are into our 30’s and 40’s. Many kids aren’t lucky enough to know their grandparents let alone grow into adulthood with them. The first things that would come to mind when you mention Rose would be her thick German accent, her nickname from the great grandkids – Grandma Bingo, her baking sweets, warming her feet in the oven (seriously!) and her kind and happy demeanor. I don’t know if with age people just appreciate life more or maybe the ticket to a long life is being kind and happy? She certainly embodied both of those traits. Some people get old and ornery, but not Rose.
I wasn’t lucky enough to know Rose’s husband (Ignatius, aka Ike), he passed before I came into the family. Instead, I knew Rose and Corrine. Those two came as a package deal. Corrine was one of Rose’s children and she had special needs. I think Corrine probably could have lived on her own, but Rose always had her, living together, going to church together, going grocery shopping together, yelling at the dog together, doing everything together. Sadly, Corrine passed away in 2012. I didn’t think of this at the time, but I can’t imagine the anguish Rose must have been in after Corrine passed away. Kids are never supposed to go before the Mom and Dad. But it must have been especially difficult since they were together literally every waking moment. They were well known for loving kids, animals, going to Bingo and out to eat. But like I said above, Rose’s demeanor never cracked. She was always smiling, always cheering us on.
At 92 years young, Rose still lived on her own in the Patterson Apartments in Bismarck. She had lived in her own home until a just a couple of years ago, a bit after Corrine passed away. People will likely see Rose’s obituary and the number 92 and think what a nice life, she lived a long time. This is true. But her death was unexpected to us. She was on her own, her family in Bismarck checking on her regularly, but in good health. She fell and as we all know that is a difficult thing to recover from at the age of 92. She went quickly. Maybe that is for the best and something we should be thankful for? She never had to totally rely on anyone to feed her, bath her or help her.
Throughout my relationship with Mark I have heard many stories about Rose. One of my favorites is that Grandpa Ike won her in a bar fight. I don’t know how true that story is or if it grew through the decades? I like to think of it as a bit of a love story.
I snapped this photo when we stopped in briefly to see Rose at her apartment this May. I am so glad we stopped that day. This is what I had written: 92 (!) years of wisdom & grace. Just this week she went shopping, went to bingo & church a couple of times. She remarked she’s not sure what she’ll do when she gets old! She did admit to us she asked the doctor for laziness pills as she naps a lot. I’d say well deserved, Grandma Feist. Oh and she also told us she forgot to put in her teeth one time when she went to church. Haha!
For a variety of reasons, Mark and I don’t have any children. Feist is a fairly common name, but him and I both have very small families. Times like this are obviously sad, but they make me think how sad I am to know that we aren’t carrying on the Feist or Sutter names, heritage and stories. I feel like we both come from very strong, common sense and loving families. I’d love to share the stories of our grandparents and our parents. Now they won’t be known. It’s not like we did anything heroic, but these are good people. Funny stories, good recipes, loving memories and more. The one good thing of this is I can take more time to listen to and spend time with my grandmother, my Mom’s mom. Time is the most precious commodity on earth and family is so important. I don’t consider myself to be a church going, Bible thumper, but I certainly believe in God. At church just last week, our pastor reminded us that money and commodities don’t make your life, they won’t get you into heaven. Just because you GIVE in front of your peers or go to church in front of your peers, that won’t give you redemption. Be kind in your own quiet way. Help those that are in need. Rose was steadfast in attending her Catholic services. Not to be seen, not to be “good” but because of her belief in Christ. This is something I will strive towards in my future – thank you for leading the way, Rose.
Just as other families, we gather today to say goodbye. We are sad, but happy for this woman, happy to be together. With the hustle and bustle of life we just don’t get together on a regular basis. No doubt we will laugh and cry, stories will be told, memories will be shared. Thank you Grandma Rose for bringing us together, giving us life and living a life of grace. May we all embody your kindness and gentle spirit. Tell Corrine and Ike hello, I am looking forward to meeting him one day.
We love you.