It was a cold winter afternoon when the news of losing her husband had struck her worst than the lightning. Shocking. Scary. Heartbreaking. Cruel. This news never comes easy, but there was a sense of cruelty in the easiness with which the words have been spoken by her brother in law who did not even realize that it was not his father John that had been found dead, but his brother John, who happened to have the same name but who has been living at a completely different address. It was ironic that he did not understand the obvious when he received that fatidic phone call, but when she heard about it, she was the only one who did understand. In that moment of truth, in the presence of her daughter, her whole universe has crumbled in a moment. Her child has stood still by the sound of her excruciating loud scream, a voice of despair never heard before. A scream announcing a lot of suffering.
Then came a long time of waiting for the confirmation of her loss, most probably the longest night in her life. They had gone to bring back home his dead body and she was helpless, she had to wait with her child for the moment when she would see him dead with her own eyes. Her heart was broken in two. Her mind was telling her that he was gone, yet her soul refused to accept it and hung on any glimpse of hope. She tried to phone and find out more, she tried to get help from people around, yet nobody seemed to care and all others seemed to stay out of this tragedy that was left only on her shoulders. When there’s pain, nobody seems to want to know it, all seem to turn their back and refuse to be close to it. A solitude understood only by the hurt ones.
With her family hundreds of miles away, she had spent a whole terror night hiding in a corner of the flat, finding comfort only in embracing her daughter while whispering through the tears “it cannot be him, no, he is not dead…Yes, it is him, it can only be him living at our address… no, it cannot be him…” An agony that would have gone unknown to anyone but God. Sounds of bullets fired outside the building, in the near proximity and in a distance, have tormented the whole night. A night of such an acute solitude and emptiness that she nearly lost her mind.
Making it through the madness of what is now known as the Romanian Revolution in 1989, her brothers and sisters have defied any fear and have taken all the same train, coming to bring the deserved consolation for the soul that did not have the strength to express the loss and pain anymore. Their embrace was similar to the wing of an angel covering a broken soul.
His soul was still floating among us while we were crying by his side while we were saying goodbye. In a little village church lit up by many candles, on Christmas day, in that small room full of a whole community of relatives and neighbours, he must have seen his wife kissing his forehead for the last time and his daughter being taken away while reaching her hand for the last time towards him as they were nailing the top of his coffin. He must have known he was loved and missed. He must know he is loved till the end of time.
It is all very vivid in my memory. People say time makes memories fade, yet this memory stays the same, it opens in my mind with the same brightness of a light that suddenly illuminates a very dark room. It was and still is painful. Yet it is also the loving memory of my beloved father. It is also the love for my dear precious mother, a woman who has been through so much in life. I was the witness, I was the child, and somewhere in my heart , at this time of the year, I still am. Back there, 25 years ago.