I originally started this blog to find out if there were larger patterns to the things I love.
The tags don’t lie: there is a very consistent theme to almost all of my posts, and it’s mortality.
Oof. I hadn’t quite expected that.
I think of myself as an optimistic, forward-looking person. And all I seem to want to talk about is death, the fragility of existence and the past. Where could that be coming from?
I don’t have any really good answers for right now. The only one I can think of is that I have subconsciously adopted this outlook from previous generations of my family.
My mother was two years old when she spent months on the road with her mother and three siblings, fleeing westward by cart, foot and train, through an apocalyptic Germany, ruined cities, dead people, dead cattle, forever crying babies, the smell of dirty diapers, meagre food, sleeping on floors. My grandfather had fled separately, since his presence would have meant certain death for the whole family had the Red Army caught up.
When this little band finally reached their destination my grandparents were both jailed and my mother was given to relatives.
Now, I am not claiming that this odyssee was either unusual or unfair. Millions of people had the same experience, my family had supported the war, they had the benefit of coming out alive unlike so many others, and my grandparents deserved their prison sentences.
But I am trying to put myself in the head of a two year old, and the impact of this apocalyptic journey on the brain of a small child. Moreover, my mother grew up to the constant lamentations of the lost estate, the lost rank, the lost reputations, the lost country.
Wouldn’t that somehow implant the idea that everything falls, everything will get lost, will die and come to nothing?
But how would that outlook get transferred to me, since my mother rarely talked about her childhood?
And if this is – perhaps improbably – the case, how do I rid myself of this weight, this outlook?