Many have come to call it "follie"; I have always thought it as being the "yearning" of a "young heart" to dwell into the mysteries of love and seek for a sense of completion and, with that being the moving force, I set off to marry my good friend at the age of 19. It didn't last long! I still recall my grandfather's words when I "admitted my defeat" for the 1st time.
"Love is not to, simply, look at each other's eyes but when two sets of eyes look towards the same direction in life..."
It was at that moment when everything fell into place and I found the strength to pack my few belongings and declare "I'm moving out!" -a decision soon postponed due to an unfortunate event. That same day we learnt that my father-in-law was dying of lung cancer... It was high time I set my priorities aside.
I loved that man whom his family feared and disliked for his bad temper. To me, he was an angry little boy who, desperately seeking for attention, would, at times, cross the line! I observed him after each fight to see that he would retreat, only to hate himself for the pain he had caused.
He loved me too for seeing through him and forgiving his violent outbursts. His whole face would go red every time I hugged and kissed him only to prove how unfamiliar he was with physical contact.
During his last days, he would shift moods even more often. One day he'd be hopeful and calm, another, angry and bitter. I stayed with him, listened to him, encouraged him and then, cried with him.
Things soon took a turn for the worse preventing him from eating or even breathing until the end came to ease his pain and bring relief to the hearts of others.
It must have been a few weeks after his funeral when I woke up from a disturbing dream. I couldn't get his voice out of my mind.
"Please, I'm so hungry! Bring me something to eat!"
I called my mother-in-law asking for her guidance.
"Why bother? He's dead," but after my persistence, she switched into "customs dictate..."
Ten minutes later, I was on my way to his final resting place and battling with the early morning frost. I didn't know whether I could find his grave (having been there only once since the funeral) and since it was half an hour to sun rise I began questioning my decision.
As I entered the front gate I stopped to gaze at the most beautiful landscape that lay silent under a thick blanket of snow. And yet, it didn't look distant but rather inviting, not empty, simply awaiting stoically for those who have not yet forgotten.
I looked around in anxiety uncertain of what to do. I remembered that his grave was near the gate but where?! And then, in a single moment I caught the glimpse of a fainting light coming, as if, from under the snow.
I approached with hesitation and found myself in front of his headstone. I, then, bent over to the direction of the light to see a candle which, having burnt below the surface of the snow, had formed a small tunnel around it protecting its flame from the gentle wind.
I placed a small bowl of wheat next to the grave, lit a new candle and whispered a prayer wondering how strangely beautiful the world is.
I was told to take wheat as it is what they do in the northern parts of Greece for those who have starved to death because of a serious illness. It seems that wheat is associated with bread and that is considered the appropriate and first thing to offer.