3 min read

Death and others

Many seemingly unrelated events from last week and before leave me today feeling like I’m “involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell me the rules, and who smiles all the time.”

Last week, after I made my move to the new apartment, I called my grand aunt (from my father’s side), as I said in one of the previous posts, and, among other subjects, we spoke about health of the family members. We exchanged news about the health of my grandmother from my mother’s side of the family, who was admitted to the hospital that week due to massive stroke that she miraculously survived.

On Wednesday the following week I met my best friend, who just came back from a hospital, and spoke about health and hospitals in general. I mentioned my grandmother and I expressed my worries about her. The stroke, I’ve been told, left her nearly paralysed.

On Friday night my plans changed in the last minute and I was left alone with two bottles of wine, some smelly cheese and “Whose line is it anyway”. After a bottle or so I called my mum, to learn she was having a bit of a party with a few friends herself. We spent about an hour on the phone and at some stage we got to the subject of my grandmother. She said, you know, they didn’t let her go home, so it has to be really bad, I know she’s done some terrible things, but if she goes, I don’t know what will I do, she’s my mother after all. There was some sobbing and I promised to save money for the flight home so I could be there. I put away some hundred euros and I made a mental note to put away more next month.

The next day I had a lengthy hairdresser appointment. During the few hours I spent on the chair, I mentioned to my stylist that my grandmother, who was a smoker all her life, is still alive and relatively well at the age of 85. Little that I knew, it was around that time she died.

My grandmother was a remarkable woman. Born in Yugoslavia just before the war a she was taken to Germany for labour when she was very young. She escaped to Poland and decided to stay there. She found a job in the national railway company, and though she never learned to write in Polish, she refused to speak her native language and she cut herself off of her family and eight siblings. She left her past as far behind as she could and lived her life as wildly as it was possible. We know that many secrets will die with her.

Yesterday, for the first time in thirty years, all of her three daughters met in the same house. All of them have different fathers, and one of them is my long lost aunt that I have never met and learned of her existence only when I turned eighteen.

None of them has sons, daughters only.

Moreover, one of the daughters’ daughter is due to give birth to her daughter in a week’s time.

The strange thing about it all is I can’t even feel sad. I felt sad over the last week, but when I got the news, it wasn’t a surprise to me at all. I felt that we all Knew. I think it’s the weirdness of the situation, that makes me somewhat unable to be sad.

You see, for all I know we could be descendants of a clan of witches. Our history is shrouded in mystery, the family is run by women as men tend to just come and go, and we always somehow know when the winds change and when we need to get back in touch. The more the time goes, the easier it is for me to believe in this, our lives are just too strange to be normal.

Day after tomorrow I will fly home, after buying the last ticket for the only flight to Rzeszów for just over hundred and fifty euro. I have a return flight just in time to unpack, repack, and take off to Paris for Valentine’s. As if I planned it beforehand.

So here I am once more
In the playground of the broken hearts
One more experience, one more entry in a diary, self-penned
Yet another emotional suicide
Overdosed on sentiment and pride
Too late to say I love you
Too late to restage the play
Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday

Im losing on the swings
Im losing on the roundabouts
Im losing on the swings
Im losing on the roundabouts
Too much, too soon, too far to go, too late to play
The game is over, the game is over
(Marillion, "Script for a Jester's Tear")

Yet another anchor to my previous life is gone, gone, gone...