This year, this Christmas I felt my connection to the people that formed me, that made me who I am today. An ancestral connection to the line of women that have molded me in the woman I am today. I feel them in my blood, in my skin. I see them in my eyes and the curls that tangle in my hair more strongly than ever before. They feed my bones, my character and my soul even now after they've left this world. And for that I’m grateful.
Named after her. A Queen’s name, a Holy name. Only by that, spirituality and blessing were instilled in me. Enduring violence and hunger, you still came out stronger raising four children. Welcomeness has always been inside you, even when you had nothing. With chicken soup and sweet oven baked goodies. Chain smoking cigarettes and struggling with loneliness. You were cast away for coping with all you’ve experienced in unhealthy ways. Even in old age you were not helped. Yet, you were never bitter, you never pitied yourself. You always waited quietly on the hill for that blue Skoda with your daughter inside to appear. For your daughter to forgive you.
I am sorry I was not there. I was too small to understand. I still remember how much solace you found in every dog you had. You made me love them. You made me love nature and dandelions, white or yellow. You made me dream of country houses near you and leaving the loud city for a change. Even on your death, when the whole family was falling apart, when you were losing me without me even realizing. I lost you instead. You forgave my father for ripping apart my family. You welcomed him with open arms even if he hurt your daughter. But we were too late.
On Mother's Day we let you go. It was a cold March morning. It was cold because you were no more. All I had left of you was the memory of your loving Korean series and that apple tree you planted on the day I was born. I wish I had more time with you. I wish you could have found some solace in me too. I wish you could have baked me some cookies and gave me some chicken soup one last time. I thank you. For showing me how to love, how to not stay bitter, how to forgive and forget and how to appreciate the holiness of an open field and a dog loving you so much it won’t leave your side.
Queen of Midsummer. I wish I saw you celebrate it in your youth. I think flower crowns and white gowns would have made you look like a Holy Spirit moving through the movements of the Midsummer dance. June reminds me of you. Of you teaching me how to intertwine flowers in a beautiful crown to remember the dead. To keep them in our hearts and love them and our connections.
You kept our family together with kind hands and warm blue eyes that I’m sorry I did not inherit. But you gave me so much more. You showed me how to love myself. How eating with heart and soul is how you should enjoy food. Any kind of food. I still remember how my honey eyes were mesmerized when I saw fairies dancing on your hands when you kneaded dough. Your heart was so kind it was the thing that took you from me.
The only woman who has always accepted me exactly how I am. No matter how I looked at the time. With purple hair or natural hair, with piercings or simple earrings, with a few places on my body fuller or not. You have loved me like anyone deserves to be loved in this world. Unconditionally. I miss your hugs and your delicious food. Your laughter when a cat did something stupid in the yard. Your love for your hens that I could never understand. The image of you young, I see myself in it. Free and kind and loving. It’s what I aspire to be. Kind, but not naïve. Accepting, but not blind. August feels bitter now.
I feel these women, their legacy, their blood and sweat in every particle of my being. I feel the mystic running through my veins and the light that gives me my sight, even though I didn’t inherit the blue eyes of the family. These women taught me what it is to live and enjoy the little things, while knowing that, for the important things in life, you sometimes have to endure. You sometimes have to bleed.
Maria Uifelean is a young law student from Romania with a deep passion for psychology. In this way, her writing depicts a deep understanding of the human condition and her own unique understanding of emotions, behaviour and interpersonal dynamics. Writing is the way she can manifest and understand her empathy and see the world through infinite perspectives while she puts herself inside every character she writes about.