A little more family history...before WWII and before my father was born, my grandparents had a daughter.
I had an aunt.
During the war she died of pneumonia.
I know that my grandfather spent four years in a Russian work camp in Siberia during the war.
I think she died during this time.
I don't fully remember her name (Agneska?) but I remember my dad saying she died on Christmas Eve.
I wish I knew more.
I wish my father and I had been better at listening to each other.
You can see in the tiny b&w photo that my grandfather kept a picture of her by his bed in the army.
I can't imagine what it was like to lose a daughter, to lose a family (he had 11 siblings I think), to let go of a whole country.
I sit with that a lot these days--the loss of it all and the strength it must have taken to keep going.
It motivates me to do my work.
Considering the history, it's a bit of a miracle that I'm even here and I feel like I should make the most of it.