Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Nanny and the village cemetery

Whenever we are in Poland, we visit a village where I lived as a child. There is no one left that I would know or that would remember me. But there is still that feeling of belonging there.

My parents and I moved out of Belsk when I was 5 years old. For many years I was going back to Belsk for a week or two in summer and sometimes during the school year for weekends. When I turned 12-13 years old I used to take long distance buses and go there by myself. Why would I do that?

Both of my parents worked at a Polish Academy of Sciences institute in Belsk. There was no nursery in the village and no grandparents around. Most kids living there had nannies. I also had one. She was the BEST nanny ever! Her son died as a child not long before my birth, so she has given me all her love. She was the one I used to visit after my family moved to Warsaw.


She has met Zosia when she was still a baby (in the photo above Zosia is just 5 months old), bust has never met Jaś nor Ania. I visit her grave every time we are in Poland. I still remember her and miss her a lot. I wish she were here to meet all my children. I know she would have loved them too.

This week we also drove to Belsk to pray by her grave. Jaś helped me clean this simple tomb and then we lit candles and placed some fresh flowers. I don't even know who else is looking after the grave as I don't remember any of my nanny's or her husband's family.



After visiting my Nanny's family grave we went around the cemetery and found some interesting tombs. 
This is a grave of soldiers from Belsk that died in the first days of World War II.


There were many tiny graves of children that have died when they were just a few days or years old. Traditionally children were not buried in the family tomb, but separately in a special part of the cemetery, usually somewhere under the cemetery walls. Many of these graves have no names, but there are still candles and flowers on them. Someone still remembers ...





Some graves are over 100 years old.






Old and new stand right next to each other.



R.I.P.

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