brand new ancestral wisdom

“Grandpa’ is just a tomb in Brasla’s cemetery, covered in “beard of Jupiter”, without a crucifix or a tomb stone.”
Vizma Belsevica “Bille”

The little girl Bille from one of my favorite childhood books doesn’t tell such a unique story – there are many children who have never met their grandparents, and their first image of ancestors form in a cemetery while changing slimy greenish water in vases and fighting fir needles and ants all around, if not during the funeral. This has been my story as well. One of my granddads passed away when I was three years old, and I do cherish a fragile memory of him telling me off for using the door as a swing (we use to have a high threshold, I jumped off and swang while holding a door handle, my childhood was mega exciting). So he stays in my memory as a strict, serious man. I love to think that he is the ancestor that had been looks after me throughout my life – for instance, he watches what men I date and kick them out of my life because they are not good enough. Him and my great-grandmother’s sister, Aunty Marta. She was a true badass, she had about five husbands and no children. She was awesome. I can easily imagine her being very picky and fair about my men.
My second grandfather passed away when I was a toddler, and he is indeed a little hillock covered in heather in my heart now since we just found his tomb thirty years after his death. It was something my family wanted to do for a while but we never got around to do it. My grandparents were long divorced when he departed, and he was far from being a good husband or father, so his funeral was very humble on the other side of the country where he spent his final years. It was always somehow out of daily order to travel far and take care of the tomb, and the only person who knew its approximate place was my granny anyway.  So we packed for a road trip and went off to search my mom’s childhood home and her father’s grave on a sunny May day a couple of weeks ago.
I want to write it off as it is a part of my story about rocks in my pockets. My grandfather was a child of a deported family. He was born in Siberia, and grew up in an orphanage separated from other siblings after his mother’s death. His father collected his offspring after the war was over, but the family never grew close, and we still do not know whether my granddad’s siblings ever had families that lived up to today. My grandfather has been often described as a person who loved to walk on the wild side, and he awfully failed at being a good family man. Like, it doesn’t surprise that it wasn’t on my family’s top priority to find his grave sooner. However, I felt like this could be the right moment. His absence had never affected my life and I won’t say that I miss a grandfather’s figure at any point, but it was good to find him and pay my last/first respects. I’ve got his blood, his genetics. As we love to laugh – he diluted good-tempered characteristics that run in my mom’s family from her mother’s side.

granddad

My grandparents with my little mom in the picture above. My grandfather with his father in the picture below // Mani vecvecāki un maza mamma augšējā bildē. Mans vecvectēvs un vectēvs apakšējā fotogrāfijā.

We were happy to see that my granddad’s land is bought by good people who are building a new house (near Riga, obviously). The old barn is still there. It is a beautiful place, and the cemetery where he rests is old and has its magical vibes like a forest in fairy tales.

granddads barn

The old barn still stands, and the new owners have matched a well // Jaunie saimnieki pieskaņojuši aku vectēva kūtiņai

Sometimes it requires thirty years for people to be ready to look at things without bitterness. For myself, I discovered how important it is to own your family story even if it is not all rainbows and butterflies. It is important to have a tomb to come to and say, “Grandad, we are so cool. I know you did the best you knew. Please, look after me, I need you.” Now, I’ve got even stronger gang taking care of my bad decisions.

dandelions

Dandelion fields in Ropaži, my granddad’s home town // Pieneņu pļavas Ropažu tuvumā netālu no vectēva mājām

“Vecaistēvs ir vairs tikai apaļiem saulrieteņu čemuriem noaugusi dobīte Braslas kapos bez kāda krusta vai plāksnītes.”

Vizma Belševica “Bille”

Manas mīļas bērnības grāmatu varones Billes atmiņas par vectēvu sakrīt ar daudzu bērnu pirmo satikšanos ar vecvecākiem, ja ne bērēs, tad vienkārši pēc tam jau kapos, mijot saglumējušu, zaļu ūdeni vāzēs un karojot ar skudrām un skujām. Tāds ir arī mans stāsts. Viens no maniem vectēviem nomira, kad man bija trīs gadi, un manās atmiņās viņš palicis kā stingrs, nopietns vīrs, kurš neļāva man lekt no sliekšņa un šūpoties durvīs (jā, man bija aizraujoša bērnība). Man patīk domāt, ka viņš mani pieskata no mākoņa maliņas un neļauj man pieņemt muļķīgus lēmumus, piemēram, neļauj dulnām attiecībām piepildīties. Viņš un manas vecvecmammas māsa Marta, kas bija viena dikti traka kundzīte, piecreiz precējusies, – viņai noteikti ir acs uz manu privāto dzīvi tur, no augšas.

Mans otrs vectēvs aizgāja mūžībā, kad es vēl biju zīdainis, un viņš patiešām manā sirdī ir vien viršiem noaudzis pauguriņš, kuru mēs tik nesen atklājām. Mūsu ģimene jau laiku plānoja kapa meklēšanu (trīsdesmit gadus), taču tas vienmēr tika atlikts. Mani vecvecāki bija jau sen šķīrušies, un vectēvs īpaši neizcēlās kā labs vīrs vai tēvs, tāpēc bēres bija pieticīgas un noturētas tālu no mūsu dzimtās puses, kur viņš bija pavadījis savus pēdējos dzīves gadus. Viss šis stāsts loģiski noved vien pie tā, ka tā nebija neviena prioritāte uzmeklēt viņa atdusas vietu agrāk. Pie tam, aptuvenas koordinātes zināja vien vecmamma. Tā nu kādā saulainā maija dienā mēs sapakojām vecmammu un devāmies uzmeklēt manas mammas bērnības dienu mājas un vectēva kapu.

Vēlos šo visu norakstīt nost no sirds, jo ši ir daļa no akmeņiem manās kabatās. Mans vectēvs ir bērns no deportētas ģimenes. Dzimis Sibīrijā un pēc agras mātes nāves uzaudzis bērnunamos, atšķirts no pārējiem brāļiem un māsas. Kad tēvs pēc kara bērnus savācis un atvedis uz Latviju, bija jau par vēlu cerēt, ka izveidosies stipra, saliedēta ģimene. Līdz pat šai dienai mēs nezinām, vai ir palikuši kādi radi no mana vectēva puses, tā kā viņu savstarpējā komunikācija pārtrūka pat īsti nesākusies. Vectēvs manas ģimenes locekļu atmiņās palicis kā cilvēks, kurš mīlējis uzdzīvot un iesaistīties avantūrās. Viņš lielākoties neizcēlās ar ģimenes cilvēka talantiem (izņemot viņa prīmā zirņu zupu), tāpēc nav jau dižs brīnums, ka tas viņa kaps bija mazliet piemirsies. Es neesmu izjutusi vectēvu trūkumu manā dzīvē, vienkārši šķita, ka šis nav nokārtots un es vēlētos izrādīt pēdējo un pirmo cieņu, ka viņš man tāds ir bijis. Tās ir manas asinis, mani gēni. Kā mēs mīlam pasmieties mājās – viņš ar savu neganto raksturu atšķaidīja manas vecmammas lēnīgo pieeju dzīvei.

Bijām gandarīti redzēt, ka uz vectēva zemes kāds ceļ jaunu, skaistu māju. Vecā mūra kūtiņa vēl arvien turpat. Mājas bija skaistā vietā, un vectēvs atdusas vecos Ropažu kapos, klusos, žūžojošos  kā pasaku mežs.

Dažreiz vajadzīgi trīsdesmit gadi, lai cilvēki paskatītos uz lietām bez rūgtuma. Kas attiecas uz mani, esmu iemācījusies, cik svarīgi ir atzīt, piedot un nekaunēties no ģimenes stāsta, pat ja tas lielākoties nav bijis rožu darzs. Ir svarīgi, ka ir kapiņš, pie kura reizēm piekāpt un teikt: “Vectēv, viss ir bumbās! Tu darīji visu, cik labi vien prati. Pieskati mani!” Mana aizmugure nu ir vēl stiprāka.

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