I wanted to get to know my roots, completing the puzzle of my family tree, that I randomly discovered that I am from a heroic generation. That’s how I ended up at the island.
Andriani was the last one of the family. Her grandfather was of the two who lived from the big family that disappeared from the holocaust of Megalonisos, 1886. All four brothers were lost in the fire along with the rest, putting the fire at the monastery's flashpoint. Names at the Iroo said the whole story. I wanted to know if Andriani had memories of her grandfather's storytellings. If he talked to her about his 4 brothers, that died so young but became a part of history.
A rainy afternoon I took the decision to find her no matter what...
She was about 90 years old but her mind was razor-sharp.
Even though she was sitting in a wheelchair she looked haughty and proud, characteristics of another era. She must have been a very beautiful woman when she was young. She welcomed me with joy and looked at me from the bottom to top.
«So... why are you here? » she asked me nicely and put her hand on my cheek. «Even death has forgotten about me... »
Her husband died 10 years ago. She was his second wife. She brought up his children but didn't have her own.
«Did you come here alone? Are you married? Do you have kids? » she asked me and wanted to know more and more in a few hours.
After a long time, when we stayed alone, she said to me:
«I've been through a lot... I worked so much in my life, at my husband´s fiefdom, and at his children´s. I worked so much everywhere. So much that one day, while I was working without a break, without putting anything in my mouth, a pain in my back made me bent. I was brought back home and from then I could not stand up ever again. Even though I have been through so much, I never complained, ever, not even a word. Except for one time that someone came to me and told me about him... At night, when my husband came back, as we sat by the fire, I told him about it. »
-So that is what she told to you, he answered me. When she secretly looked at me I was good enough?
I never said a word again.
When years passed by, the sickness struck him and he went bedridden. For 9 years I took care of him from the wheelchair. One night, I saw how much he was suffering and I applied compresses with cold water on his hands and feet due to his high fever. I held his hand an told him:
-Don't worry my husband, I won't allow death to take you because I love you.
-I love you too, Andriani, 3 times more..., he said and leaned his head.
He died on my hands. I hold his hand till morning and cried quietly.
I left late in the afternoon after I learned something much more important than what I was hoping to...