All the leaves have gone

It is my favorite season, time to harvest and prepare for Winter. I always look forward to it, but this has been a particularly challenging Autumn.

I found out my grandmother’s brother in Ukraine died tragically in a fire today as he sat beside the stove for warmth. He survived the Holodomor, WWII, Siberia, and the Soviet Union. He was reunited with my grandmother when she returned to Ukraine in the 90s for her first visit since leaving in the 40s. They corresponded by letter and rare phone calls when he would go to a neighbor’s house to use the telephone. My grandmother sent photos of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. He was a widower, never had children, and lived alone.

I always hoped that I would meet him on a future visit to Ukraine. I worry about what this may do to my grandmother. I know that it’s a gift that she’s still here. Incredible that all of my grandparents are still alive, in their 80s and 9os. (knock on wood)

The elders are dying, and many of their stories will die with them. I hope that he had someone to talk to, someone to listen to him. It hurts my heart to think that he died in such a way. Alone.

Life is so fragile. So much dies in Autumn.

 

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya.

One thought on “All the leaves have gone”

  1. Eva Chapman says:

    Oh Valya I cried when I read your post. What was your great uncle’s name? What a life he lived. You are right the elders are dying. Fortunately you have put a lot of their wisdom into ‘The Silence of Trees’.
    Much love to your grandmother and family

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