Baba Ania

Today, as on most Sundays, I had coffee with mom at my house. When I was dropping her off by her place, she asked me whether I remember what day is it today. I told her: yes, Baba Ania’s day. And she continued – and also your fathers’ birthday.
I was hesitant for a while about whether I wanted to write posts like this in this blog, but after talking to my children, I decided I should do so. This is my first attempt to write about difficult things.

Baba Ania, my mom’s mother, passed away on September 20, 1967. She was fifty-five. And to be honest, the only reason I remember this date is that it is also my father’s birthday, and my mom told me several thousand times that my father would not remember that this was a day Baba Ania passed away. So when I finally memorized my father’s birthday, and after I heard mom saying this a thousand times, I finally memorized the day of her death.

Now, mom always says it in an accusative tone with the underlying meaning that I do not remember important dates. But the truth is that she is a precise reason I do not remember these dates.

I can never forgive mom that she didn’t tell me that my grandma passed away. I loved Baba Ania very much, and there was some idiotic reason like she didn’t want to upset the poor child or whatever it was. Honestly, I do not know what she was thinking. I was four, and I was smart. But she told me that Baba Ania is ill and is in the hospital (and at that time, almost no hospital visitations were allowed). I believed her. And then when I asked, she was keeping saying that Baba Ania is still in the hospital. Again, I have no idea whether she thought I would forget or not, but she kept saying this.

And all this time, I was visiting Deda Fedia with her, and they kept pretending for months. And then once, I was there, with Deda Fedia, visiting the neighbors, Aunt Lida and Uncle Paulusha (they were not our relatives, but that it was a custom for the kids to address people they knew Aunt and Uncle). So we were visiting, and Aunt Lida casually asked me: do you remember your late grandma? At first, I didn’t even understand what she was asking and stared at her. She repeated: Do you remember your late grandma, Baba Ania?

I never told my mom, but I was so mad that she didn’t let me to grief, that she didn’t let me live through this loss. What was the point of grieving after many months of Baba Ania being gone?
I said that I never forgave mom; it does not mean that I am mad at her about this even now. I am not mad at her now because she is old, and I want to take good care of her, and there is no point discussing this because she is a different person right now. Not the person who made this horrible decision fifty-three years ago. I can’t forgive because this is something that can’t be fixed. But it just does not matter anymore, and there is no person I can hold it against.

March 1967

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

5 thoughts on “Baba Ania

  1. Yes, it strikes me that I remember her being old and that she thought of herself being old, yet she was just 52 when I was born, and she was younger than me now when she passed away. That’s something I mentioned in the posts about my early childhood – how all these relatively young people looked old and thought of themselves as being old.

    My memories of Baba Ania are very vivid. I remember all the things we did together, the “hikes” we would go for, the stories she told me about when she was a little girl, the poems and songs I memorized from her words.

    For the record, Anna is named after her 🙂


      1. I just have a very good memory :), I remember some episodes from when I was a little bit over one-year-old and I remember my life “as a stream” starting from a little bit over two.

        Liked by 1 person

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