There were lots of individuals whom I understood: teachers, acquaintances, neighbors, friends, fellow-students, relatives, but I won’t ever forget my Mom, and her name- Maria.
I’ll be grateful to her for everything I’ve ever had in my entire life. She hated injustice, any sort of it, and I hate that, too. She was a great believer, possibly, she had been making mistakes, but she was an ardent Christian who was able to walk 3 km on foot to plead in the “small church”, as she called it. She was calm, but I recall, how devotedly she had been praying on the knees, that hurt her out of the long work, from the chilly winter, by the deprivation. She had just a two-room flat, which she had to struggle for, as she wasn’t a physician, a nurse, but only a waitress. An honest and an open-minded individual. Green or sometimes grey… Those were the eyes of the reality. She taught me the truthfulness and the honesty, the sense of respect and dignity.
I won’t ever forget her face, little and nice, in reality, fairly, sun-burned from sunlight and the years, but always amicable, constantly companionable.
She enjoyed the Holidays, the Christian holidays, the Easter and Christmas. She liked to cook the 12 chief dishes for Christmas, She always enjoyed Christmas trees and got me to decorate them. She enjoyed the lights on the New-Year Tree. She enjoyed happiness, of which she did not have too much. She was always pleased to see me or my half-brother. Each day, when we were with her, was a vacation for her.
I won’t ever forget her hands: how many things she needed to make together! When I was very small, she needed to bring wood for the furnace to heat up our two-bedroom flat. Afterwards, she used to bring a few coal to make the room warm. When there was no timber, she had to walk in the nearest grove and to collect the fallen tree branches, to bring them to utilize them as wood to the stove.
Her life was tough. She was able to live with my grandfather and my grandmother (be awarded to them the Kingdom of Heaven!) , she needed to work in the area, to graze the cows, to pick up berries, to bring the sheaves into the house, to wash, to cook, to assist with the remainder of her sisters and brothers (they were 8).
She couldn’t really get decent education, as she needed to work at home. They could research only in winter time, in ferocious frosts. There was the rule: sisters had to go to college in turn, as they had only 1 pair of booties to use. The elder went more often, the younger, my mom rarer. She’d only 3 levels of the basic school, but she knew that a whole lot, she learned a lot from life.
Her family wasn’t from Ukraine. She was able to tell me, how they were planning to Rzeszow on foot into the church. She also said, that they were visiting a Polish Catholic church, also, even, celebrated Christmas with their neighbors, and the neighbors seen them on “their” holidays.
They had been deported from their territory in 1945, I believe, according to the Polish “Vistula-Operation” order, which, I think, was a mistake, as, after, in the loft, I found a birth certificate of my grandma, where it had been denoted “rusinka”, which imply a Rusyn.
They had to leave all they had, and come to a place they did not understand, but they wanted to be closer to the boundary, perhaps, trusting that the times would change, and they’ll have the ability to return to their real Fatherland. It did not happen.
They worked hard. They overcome the Nazis job, with which they had an issue with their grandmother, as a German asked her, if they had “a Russ”, and she chased him, believing that he had been requesting an iron to press clothing.
They had to hide in trenches throughout the Polish-Ukrainian battle, as my grandpa told me, they were afraid, as many people were slaughtered in their homes.
They needed to “enlist” in a collective farm, as the Soviets had to “prove” their truthfulness to Bolshevism, and they took from them all they had, having left just 1 cow, 1 horse and ten hens.
They had to work night and day. They could work on their plot only on Saturday, but not frequently, either, as, quite often, they had been ordered to work for the collective farm.
My mom was quite young, when she needed to begin to work for a “woman” in Lviv/Lwo’w.
Afterwards, when there was a sanatorium opened, she moved back to her loved ones, and began to work there, being just 15 years old. She had to work to help the household. In the evening, snow or wind, rain or thunderstorm, she needed to return, and, early in the morning, she had to go to work again, until she had been given a room to reside in.
She understood the war. She told me, she had been helping bringing bullets to the soldiers.
She met my “dad” in a location of her job, but he seemed to be a rascal, as lots of the chaps were, drank, left me and her, so I had never seen him and had never known him.
I was told by my aunt, which my mother had no money for her to feed me, she went to Lviv, where my biological father lived, took his jacket and his view, sold it, and decided to not see him again.
She adored the poultry, she tried to be nice and rich enough during the years of the Soviet crisis, when there was nothing in shops. We had been working on our “rod” (plot) planting potatoes and other veggies. We had vegetables and meat, as we worked.
She helped me so much: she was giving me money, the supply, when I was a pupil in Drohobych. I had been missing her so much, that, first I was coming home every week, however, it was very hard, as it took 6 hours to arrive.
She loved us, the boys. I can barely find the right words of gratitude to say enough thanks to what she’d done for me.
She’ll ever be.
I remember her asking me to go to church, when I was living in the united states. She was really proud and joyful. I used to study in Rome, but she asked me to return home, to Ukraine. I don’t understand, if I had been right, as my brother told me to stay there and to continue research. He did not know, that one of the luxury and beauty of the Italian Capital, I was a foreigner, who obtained the “permesso di soggiorno” (consent for remaining) just before my departure to Ukraine: Italians did not really respect me or my knowledge. She might have been correct. Thank you!
I won’t ever forget, the last time, once I met her. She was ill living at her sister’s place in a village. She wanted me to stay, but I couldn’t. She explained that my wife and my son as well as their relatives did not want me. But I understood: he wanted me, possibly, not instantly, but it was important for him to understand, I was nearby, I could help him, he understood he had a dad.
We were left alone, in my aunt’s home, as she had been in the hospital. My mom was helping with the poultry, with water, with everything else, as my aunt couldn’t walk any more: the job as a cook almost killed her.
I didn’t understand, what to do. I was telling her information daily reading the papers. She liked to plead with me. I found a booklet of Prayers to S. Antonius, and we prayed the entire booklet in one seating.
She knew, I’d return to my son, and she advised me never come again, as he needed me I guess.
I adored her, and one can’t imagine, how sad I was leaving her. But she wasn’t alone. I knew, she desired to live at her place, but it was hopeless, as she had been old, ill, and she couldn’t be left alone.
I called every week to speak with my aunt and my mother. My aunt told me to not call so frequently and not to spend as much money on the calls. I had been sending them some money to help them out: both could not walk. And the money wasn’t of big help, since the ambulance, according to my aunt, did not even come, when they heard that it had been an older woman who needed help. The physicians had one comment: “era”.
I dropped her in April. My half-brother called me and stated that she was no more. She said that my mother died on her hands: she got up, my aunt gave her some water with honey,and she passed away…
It was the toughest time for me. I gave some money to my brother, I sent some money to my aunt, I went into the church to purchase a service. I had been praying night and day, three times, as it had been ordered. I know God will forgive her sins, if any, She is going to be awarded the winner of Our Lord. She was great, and had good hope in Jesus Christ.
I have her photo in addition to the shelf in my area. The photograph of a young lady. She was my mom, and I am praying for her every day, in every language I understand. I think, I will do it for ever. I adored her, as much as she loved me. God, please, be merciful her, the person who had an old icon in the times, when her family was living in Poland. The icon of the Virgin Mary from Lourdes, with an inscription in French