One of the cartoons we were watching while she was in the belly was Brave. I was loving that kind of strong message of being trapped into tradition, of being careful what you wish for and of being yourself no matter what. I was imagining Aurora being rebellious and brave like that no matter who stood on her way.
I got a lot of comments on how brave I am. And I have some feeling that I am more scared than I have ever been before. I was thinking if this is one of the events that will turn me into my grandma? If this the ironic part of life explaining me what I didn’t understand in person. However I started understanding the reasons behind my grandma’s fears, but for Gods sake, I just don’t want to be afraid. My grandma, who passed away, and I were not much in a good relationship. We started talking days before she died or she was simply talking, no matter who was in front of her, not sure. She lived through the Second World War, and also the civil war that Bosnia got into, and that fact I knew, except that in her last days I found out more about how those years of war shaped her personality. In my memory she remained as a very critical, not so loving or maybe a loving mother in her own way. My mom and her daughter never allowed to say she was a bad mom. And I am completely okay with not being the one who can judge on this.
I have no idea why, but this lady, my grandma, keeps coming back even though she’s gone for so many years. By that I mean I usually dream her or her house when something bad is about to happen or is related to death somehow. I was dreaming our dog, who passed away recently, running around her house. I was dreaming Aurora in her house the night after we visited the gynaecologist because the baby was not moving as before. Doctor reassured us that everything was okay as the heartbeat seemed normal. Grandma never liked doctors, and I wish that somehow I listened to her and to that dream that night.
My grandma and I were very different persons. We failed to understand each other until last moments of her life. She was not approving my attitude towards life at the time and I was not approving hers. I was some kind of rebel teenager, with short hair and strange clothes and she was traditional and religious old woman believing that all I should do is to be normal, and look for some stable relationship.
I remember touching her hand and her skin in those last days together, it felt like something that is already gone. I remember the nights we spent together talking. She was telling me about her only love, my grandpa, whom I barely knew. She was saying that they were loyal to each other, that they were loving each other and that there was no one like him. Usually she never spoke about him. She had just one old photo hanging on the wall of her bedroom. He was dressed into some elegant uniform and standing next to the white horse. I never realized how big love it was. They had 6 daughters and 2 sons that passed away. I never realized how deep their love was until I saw her broken, lost eyes looking for him in the small cracks of the wall in front of her.
She was that kind of tough, old woman that you wouldn’t be able to mess around with. For her having the food stocks all the time was the most important stuff ever, seemed like. She would almost torture everyone into helping her all year out to stock and pile food. She was living in a village so she was having her small animal farm and big garden of everything. There was a big disappointment in her if the year was not good and the food was not enough. Even though food was more than enough, all her daughters had their jobs and rather fine conditions, there was no war. And there was the important point. There was no war. For me. I had the luck of not remembering what the war looked like, but she lived two of them.
She was telling me that during WWII she was a young girl. She was remembering that the soldiers would come and take everything they’ve had – the clothes, useful stuff and the food. The food they’ve been working for months and months. The food that was their only way of surviving. Balkan was not developed enough, there was no so much stores and especially during the war conditions were extreme. I have imagined her as a small girl, hungry for days, maybe weeks. Sharing what they would get as aid even though was not enough. She didn’t know what sweet tasted like. In that moment I realized that she was not a grumpy, old lady forcing everyone to manual work. In that moment I realized she was trapped into that small girl that was hungry for days and weeks. She wanted to stock the food as if the war will happen again so nobody would be hungry as she was. Ironically, in her case it did happen again. She survived both of them. What I realized that much of her personality was simply shaped by what happened, all her fears were based on something she went through and she simply didn’t manage to find a way out of the past. In that moment I stopped being mad at her for some rude words she told me. In that moment I understood.
So I am wondering if this will turn me into her? If life has some strange kind of humour of explaining you the stuff and people? I have no idea. I have no idea how this will shape me. I am trying to stay sane, even though I’m completely broken day by day. I am trying to understand my emotions, to open up, to take the best from the past and to leave it behind.
So am I really brave? I have no idea. I feel like a big storm is sleeping somewhere and I am not able to assume when or how it will start. I get so easily and uncontrollably mad at everything around. I am scared more than I have been before.I am aware of how fragile our lives are more than ever before.
What does being brave actually means? I am not sure.
I know that I have the chance that Aurora didn’t. I know that I understand my grandma now, but the difference between us was that I believed and believe that we should live above our fears. I know that I have all the opportunities and I just need to try and to stay. I know that I promised Aurora that she will not be my fear or my heavy part of past that I will be stuck in. I know that Aurora was most brave thing I have ever met for having appeared in that condition in this world and deciding to stay sometime for us to meet her. I know that I need to learn from that.
So, can I be brave?
We will see.