The Heroes of the Lost World.
They were born while bombs were falling. No one knew who was a friend and who was an enemy. They came from large families. They spoke different languages. They were lucky, they grew up on farms, they had food, they knew how to grow it.
The war ended. The promise of a bright future was written on the walls and school papers. “Go to the city and build the future” they were told.
At sixteen she walked to the capital. He travelled from a village to a village showing Soviet films. She finished high school, he went to the Army. She baked bread in a factory-style bakery, he came back from the Army. He found a job in the same bakery. She baked, he delivered.
My mum told me that in the beginning, he was a boyfriend every girl was jealous of. He didn’t speak Lithuanian, she learned Polish. The future was bright. My mum fought hard and got a flat from the government. The same year I was born. My brother was a little toddler running around. Happy Soviet family.
There is a dark patch in the history of my family, my parents didn’t talk much about it, there was a boy who came and left before me. Why? I have no idea. I saw a black and white picture from the funeral (it was a strange tradition to take photos at funerals) where I see my father standing, with tears on his face.
I think the death of a little boy I never met changed my father. Neither my older brother nor my mum talked about it. My father chose a bottle to deal with his life.
My mum follows stoic philosophy without realising it, my dad was a lost soul who gave understanding the world.
He battled life by getting drunk. I never asked him why does he deal with his demons becoming the demon himself. Years passed, I and my older brother left.
The parents got old, my dad had a stroke and lost his leg. I went to visit him in the hospital, the poor guy couldn’t express himself. The sanity in his eyes and incoherence in his speech. He was happy to see me, he looked at me then looked at the window. He showed me that he would rather jump out from it than live the life of a broken man.
My mum took care of him. When I asked her whether we should consider sending him to a hospice, she said “ They are going to kill him over there, no way I am going to let them do that”.
A year later I got a phone call that I need to come back as my father is not going to be among us for long.
I flew home. My mum was happy to see me. It was hard for her, my dad was a shadow of himself lying in his bed. He recognized me, he smiled. It was good to see someone passing away and still managing to smile.
The same night he left us. It was the day of All Souls. I am not sure whether it is a good or bad omen to leave this world when the souls of the dead are celebrated.
My mum is still fighting the life of old age. The dreams, the hopes are fading away. She knows that life is unfair and there is no point to complain. She is happy when I and my brother are happy. She is an old Warrior.