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 90s. (knock on wood)
The elders are dying, their stories die with them. I hope that my great-uncle 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.