Saturday, October 16, 2010


Ne s trnjem, s cvetjem naj ti bo posuta pot življenja.

Let your life’s path be paved with flowers, not with thorns, is a rough translation of what my granddad Franc Pociecha wrote into my memory book when I was, oh, so very young. He drew a nice rose next to these words. His hands were always shaking, but he was the one who was writing Christmas and birthday cards to me every year. I kept them all. He told us fairytales in the evenings and he read different kind of stories to my grandmom and us, when my brother and I were visiting. And this was often when I was still in the kindergarden. He was a German soldier in II.WW because he worked as a baker in Austria when the war started. He was enrolled and sent to the Russian front. Only seven of a whole battalion survived and he was one of them. He told us that he never killed a man. He later escaped and joined the partisans, but they sent him into jail. He was lucky to survive the war. He had a piece of shrapnel in his body for the rest of his life. He was the middle, the seventh child of 13. He outlived all his siblings. His father Johan (born on 5 May 1872) was from Męcina, Poland, and came to Slovenia (then part of an Austrian-Hungarian empire) to work in a mine (luckily granddad never worked there). He was born just after the war, in a year 1919, on a day when the three kings bring the gifts, 6 January to be precise (his mom Terezija said that he was born at four in the morning). His name Franc is actually Slovenian version of a German name Franz. He married at 27 and had two children, my mom and my uncle. It is hard to say if he was happy in his life. Content, I guess, always following the path of his wife, my grandmom.

I was his first grandchild, exactly 50 years younger. I have fond memories of the time spent with him. He never yelled at us, he was a gracious and modest person with a huge knowledge about nature and history. Though, he never had a chance to be an educated man because of the war. Or maybe because he was who he was. A simple, plain man with white hair and wide smile. He never spoke much, grandmom did. At 91 he could still read and see without glasses. And he was so happy that day when I got married… 50 years after him. I hoped that he would meet my children, but God has obviously different intentions with some of us.

On Monday I was walking up the mountain, called Ogradi, in the Julian Alps. I spotted this mountain in 2006 when I was staying in a hut near there with my colleagues from work. Oh, how I wished to be up that grassy and beautiful hill that day. Four years passed and my wish came true. If I knew it was so beautiful up there, I would have gone there before. It was rather stressful morning this Monday, people were calling me from work and from the insurance company, and I really wished that everybody would just leave me alone as the day was magnificent, so beautiful like rare days in a year are. Larches were changing their color from green to yellow, grasses smelled of hay, sky was blue as blue it could be. I felt pure joy seeing all that beauty. And when I reached that grassy slope, I felt an urge to call my mom and ask her, when we were going to visit the grandparents next day. But the mobile phone went dead after I had asked my first question. Empty battery…

And then there was only silence. Only me, the mountains and all that was there. Today I think this was the moment when my granddad said farewell to me. He passed away just at about that time. Later I realized that it was 63th anniversary of his marriage exactly on that day. What a day to say goodbye!

So, another story ended and I keep wondering what comes next. I ask for some happiness.

P.s.: I wrote all this (on Wednesday) to keep it as a memory somewhere there in this space. On the photo above it is me with my grandparents more than 10 years ago. It is a print of a photo, I don’t know where the original is. It was probably lost when I moved seven years ago.


Kačja pastirica said...

Hvala, da si delila to zgodbo z nami. V določenih stavkih berem svojo zgodbo. Sorodna bolečina nam izvabi solze.

Mojca said...

Lahko recem samo, da sem tukaj. Kadarkoli, saj ves.

Feronia said...

What a beautiful recollection of your grandfather. He sounds like a lovely man. My heartfelt sympathies to you for your loss, Pina.

Victoria said...

That's a gorgeous memoriam to him, written beautifully. Thinking of you at this time.

Pina said...

Hvala & thank you.