When I was a little girl, my father told me a story about a little princess who will show the way. I don’t quite remember the story, but I remember being lost in the storm, trying to figure out my way. It was then when I saw a little princess on the horizon, pointing with her finger, showing me the way. There is this thick fog of the past in every person’s life, some memories buried deep within, some of them never to be revealed. But eventually, the past always comes back, haunting us, making us wake up from our nightmares with the suffocating scream that no one ever hears. In 2022, my father was diagnosed with throat cancer. Since the surgery he lost his voice. That was the most difficult year for our family.
He liked to travel in his youth. From Senta (my hometown) to Loch Ness in Scotland in 1980. “What I have seen on my trip Senta-Budapest-Wiena-Salzburg-Munich-Brussels-Paris-Dover-London-Edinburg-Loch Ness was amazing! It was already then possible to feel enthusiasm and the striving for the future European Union. I miss the old authentic values of Europe, she became sleeping beauty, but I am sure she will awake one day...” said my father.
He liked to play guitar while whistling the melody. He got his guitar from his aunt, after the untimely death of his mother. He was a DJ who played at a lot of parties in our hometown. The last party he played at was only few years ago.
I gathered all my strength to ask my father about his memories from his childhood. He described two moments.
“September 1st of 1965. I am on a bicycle full of my mom’s things. I am following her to the bus station. Her silent weeping penetrates my heart. I see her through the window in the bus. My mom is leaving, leaving never to come back, taking with herself the curse of the fatal love for my father who abandoned her. I am jumping on the bike and in desperate pain running after the bus. I have never reached the bus, not then, not ever..."
"June 12th of 1968. Central cemetery in Belgrade. I am with my grandma, grandpa and aunt. My mom lies in the coffin, as if she were sleeping, more beautiful than ever. That was my first early death. I have never recovered.”
This photo essay about my father, who is 72, is part of a wider project I am doing on inherited family trauma.
“… the answer may not lie within our own story as much as in the stories of our parents, grandparents, and even our great-grandparents…” M. Wolynn
How does it feel to be 72?
I am feeling well, however I feel better when listening to the song "When I'm Sixty-Four" by The Beatles.
What do you look forward to?
I am looking forward to seeing a better world for my daughters in the future! I would like to learn how to speak, to ease communicational difficulties with my family. I would like to live at least 2-3 years more, so I could make up for some of the unfinished things I haven't yet done for my family. I would like to invent a scientific system for winning the lottery.
What is your biggest concern?
My biggest fear is that I will die without the possibility to make up to my family for the things I haven’t done on time, that I will not be able to help them have a brighter life and that, regardless my energy and effort, I will fail.