......my Mamochka passed away. They had just figured out what kind of cancer she had. They couldn't figure it out for a long time. It was ovarian cancer.
She went in to the hospital for the first time for illness. It was the first time since she'd given birth to me, the baby of the family. She had just had communion when Fr. came to see her. She had just finished the first bag of chemotherapy -the first chemo that she'd received ever,as they never knew earlier what kind of cancer it was. They were changing the bag for the second bag of IV chemo, when she took her last breath.
We were talking by telephone, interstate, and she told me,(read with very thick ByeloRussian accent) , "Lyeeda,..... I want you ..to come...... before I ..die." "When do you want me to come, Mama?" ".....Dis .....week..end."The dots are the length of time in breaths that she took to speak to me. She'd never been this short of breath before. Two of my siblings said that, oh, it was just Mom trying to get attention. I thought they were nuts. It was so obvious.
We went to NY and stayed a few days. The day we left she went into the hospital. She passed away that Thursday.
That spring my then 3 year old son had a dream and told me that Babi(as they had nicknamed her, as we had nicknamed my grandmother), had died. This was so strange, because my son has always been so above average in intelligence, even as a youngster.You could write a police report by what he said/says. I knew that he knew that she was alive. So we called her up. He spoke to her, said that ok she was alive. But then he kept repeating that she had passed. We kept on talking with her. They diagnosed her with the cancer in spring, but didn't know what kind for a while. Of course, I never told her about the dream.
Meanwhile, around the same time, she had a dream about my son. She kept asking me how he was. Well, on Easter he came down with pneumonia out of the blue. He and his sister had been cleaning out the shed, and swinging on the swings for the first time since the winter had faded. He got some nasty spider bites. The one on his neck was awful, so inflamed and puffy. They put him on antibiotics right away. Within about 2 days he came down with the pneumonia. Met the doctor in their offices on a Sunday, Easter. He responded to the medicine albuterol. Didn't know anything about these meds at the time.
A month later he got pneumonia again. Something told me he just wasn't right. Hubby said to roll over and go back to sleep. NEVER DOUBT A MOTHER'S INSTINCTS. I didn't , and we took him to the emergency room. They diagnosed him with acute asthma immediately-sticking epi pens and other needles into my poor crying little man.
We never told my Mom about his pneumonia or the asthma. That would just worry her way too much, and she was losing weight and strength. I think her dream was not a good one about my son. He went on to have 2 more pneumonia's that year and was hospitalized twice.
My doctor said,"Don't worry, you'll get to be an expert with all this and these medicines." I said, "I don't want to become an expert."
A few years back, at my son's bi-annual visits to his pulmonologist, she mentioned casually about how in the beginning we'd almost lost him. She used other more definite words. He is doing well, and now I believe, is asthma free. I pray it is so. We'd gone through so much with him and medicines and scares. He had almost $2000- worth of damage on his teeth from the steroids. He was on daily, serious meds, with meter readings multiple times a day.
He never was limited with sports, but yearly has been sick to the point where we always get notices home. The last few years, he's barely needed his medicines. But, after what we'd been through, after what he's been through, I don't take any chances. I let him heal. And he's so dang smart, that he never misses a beat.
So, my dear Mamochka, is now gone 10 years. I miss her so. I miss the way she answered the telephone when I called. "Hi Mama." "Lyeedochka!!!..with a lilt in her voice, as if she were singing to hear my voice. And my Mamochka heard tears. She was very compassionate, and felt people's tears.
She was a true survivor. Born prematurely in 1923, you had to be good and tough to make it in the world. She always said that she was a brown baby. Well, the family kept correcting her that she was a blue baby. A number of years ago I saw a special on preemies, and how white babies are brown when prematurely born. Well, her sister, Zina, in Byelorusse, always told me how she got the oven. For anyone who doesn't know about the culture and their homes at that time, the oven was reserved for the grandmother usually. It was considered the best sleeping spot in the house. So, the baby of her family, the ninth child, my Mamochka, got the oven.
She had one brother who married a Jewish girl. They had a baby. As a youngster she saw the Nazis come and take the baby out of the parents arms and crush the baby on the ground. Then, when she was a teenager, she was grabbed out of her mother's arms by the Nazis.
She worked for the Germans because she was healthy. She worked as a governess, and in some fields and factories. But, they never acknowledged her when she later in life applied for remuneration through a special fund. I filed the paper work. The money she could receive was not much. But they denied her, because they' couldn't find her'. Even though we had the proof, Then right after she passed away, they said that the money would go to the living. I just wanted some acknowledgement for what she'd gone through.
What most Americans don't know is that millions of Slavs perished in the war. These Slavs were not Jewish. We are not Jewish. My mother was not. And most Americans don't know anything about a little pact made in Yalta between Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill. That pact and what ensued because of it, was called Operation Keelhaul.Any Soviet citizen was to be re-patriated back into the Soviet Union. Stalin, the mad man, would then have them shot dead on the spot, or put into horrible camps in Siberia.
My mother was at a major repatriation point, and the nozzle of an American soldier's rifle was in her cheek. She was about to be repatriated, when a Polish Catholic priest came along and told the soldier that she was Polish. That priest was a hero. I am alive today because of him. My children are here because of him.
My mother did not have an easy life, but she always said that she was one of the lucky ones. After she died all 4 of us siblings felt that she had been violated by the German soldiers. In her own words, her jaw was beaten up by them, ie-broken. And her war time friends knew of her trials, for they themselves had suffered . They were all chipper, bouncy, and full of life. That's how they dealt with their experiences. And they all said that they were the lucky ones.
My mother was a survivor, and as such, at times, could be very stubborn and difficult. People either loved her, or couldn't deal with her. But , she had a fierce love, and you always, always ,always knew that you were loved. She was so very generous , especially to me and my children, and the children that she watched, when older.
You know what they say, "Generosity of spirit is the true measure of a person". HERE'S TO YOU IN HEAVEN, MAMA. Give a smooch to Papa from me:) XO
ps- she's still watching out for me in heaven. She sends me roses in winter.