Friday, March 05, 2010

In Memoriam

Today is my mother's birthday - she was born in 1921 in Poland. She passed away in 2004. I so love this photograph - maybe for what it doesn't tell me: where was this taken? How old was she? Was it taken before or after the war broke out? I suspect before. What was in her thoughts at this particular moment in time?

I have been reading a lot about the war lately - too much perhaps. I feel guilt for not having listened very much to my father's stories - and now he too is gone. But Mum never spoke that much about it all - and I can only wonder now what horrors she must have lived through, as I read first-hand accounts and memoirs - all on the internet now - all there as evidence - as memory - as memorial. And as an archivist by profession, I fully know how incredibly important it is for all these people to have recorded and shared their stories, however difficult it must have been.

I look at my face in the mirror and wonder how I would have fared in such circumstances: the fear, above all, must have been overwhelming. But, as they say, one never knows the incredible resilience of the human spirit. Thousands of courageous, and even kind acts were performed in those dark days - days full of seemingly endless misery and suffering. In face of such unimaginable evil - people carried on - and fought - and lost their lives. But many, by some miracle, survived to tell their stories.

And I, sitting at the dinner table on any given Sunday, hearing, but not listening, to Dad go on and on - I never let it in - until now. I would hope that somehow my father understands and forgives me.

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  1. Yes and we can continue performing random acts of kindness every day.

  2. That's a lovely photo. Your mother looks pensive. My parents were children in London during WWII, and while my mother told me quite a few stories (and even wrote some down), my dad told me almost nothing about what it was like for him, being a child in the war. So we are left to wonder. Like you, I wish I had found out more when my parents were alive.

    ANd a toast to your mother's memory!

  3. I'm sure your Dad would of course understand, Anya and I suspect that he understood even way back then.

    This is a lovely photo of your Mother and an excellent tribute not just to your parents but all of the others who suffered during the war. It was a very long time ago now but we must never forget it's lessons.

  4. Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am really down in the dumps lately - and I am hoping spring, which seems to be early this year, will alleviate it. I don't know how to respond to each person individually....