I don’t even know how to begin…. I met my parents in law way before I married my husband. I used to get bombarded by my sister-in-law about them. She used to tell me how wonderful they are and how friendly they are and how if she and her friends needed to go somewhere to hang they would always pick their place because this parents were as cool as them….
My mother in law Raisa, I call her Raechka (the term of endearment) is the oldest of three sisters.
Her mom, my husband’s grandma had 3 daughters with her husband only to raise them alone, because he as so many others got killed in WWII. She was only 29 when she became a widow. … She never remarried …. When I met her for the first time, she was the symbol of a true matriarch of their “clan”.
My father in law Ayzik is the most unusual person I have ever met. He was 13 years old when the War started. His family did not have a chance to be evacuated and they lived for 3 agonizing years in Balta Getto, where his older brother got killed by the Nazi officer right in front of him and his mother. After the war was over, they found his body in a pile of thousands of bodies and buried him….The stories he told us deserve a separate post, they are heartbreaking in every way. When I listen to his Getto stories and then hear on TV that Holocaust never happened I want to introduce those people to my father in law. He is a true Holocaust survivor!!
Anyway, my parents in law came from the same town of Balta, Ukraine where they grow up together, fell in love and got married. Next year we will be celebrating their 60th anniversary.
….It was 1951, 6 years after the war. The air was full of love and laughter, people were happy despite the fact that Stalin was still ruling. They were re-building their lives. My parents in law weren’t the exception. They were sent to Groznyy, Chechen city in Russia to build the “communism”… Their first son was born there, they named him Misha in honor of Ayzik’s brother.
Life was good!!! Few years later they were sent to Moldova, (small republic of former USSR) and had their second son – Igor, my hubby
The life of this family was not much different from any other families who lived at that time in Soviet Union, except for the biggest tragedy that happened back in April 1972. Their older son got killed at the age of 19 while serving in the Soviet Navy. ….
…….Not only Misha’s was the first-born of two people in love, he was the link between their past and their future. He was named as I said before after Ayzik’s older brother and he was the symbol of their survival….. and in one moment his life was cut short along with all their dreams and their believes ….. Time is healing everything, but not this loss. One of Igor’s cousins told me once that Ayzik was never the same after Misha’s death. He went back to work tried to lose himself there, tried to bury his pain……, but how do you do that if every time you come to the cemetery to visit your 19 year old son you see swastika signs on his grave……..
I remember our interview at the American Embassy in Moscow back in 1989. The consulate heard my parents in law story and we were green lighted to America in the matter of minutes…. We were allowed to take Misha’s Navy uniform with us,…
Once our first son was born Igor and I agreed not to name him after Misha, and not because we did not want to honor his life, but simply because we were both afraid of the history repeating itself, and call me crazy, but I am still constantly afraid….
Now on the lighter note,… I am luckiest girl in the world, in my life I have not just one but two moms. My mother in law is the most low-tempered, kind-hearted women you will ever meet in your life. Even with the loss of her son, she was able to leave plenty of room in her heart for love and patience.
During the time I got married a lot of my girlfriends got married too and almost always they were complaining about their mothers in-law. I had no idea what were they talking about….(I am not trying to be cute). I decided to asked how is it possible for her to love me and this was her answer:“You are the one my son loves, you are the reason he is happy, why shouldn’t I love you? ” It was the most simple and honest answer I got from her and from that moment I knew that she will never be my mother in law, but my 2nd mom.
By losing their first son,Ayzik and Raya never let us grow up (sometimes it has a negative reaction). They baby us, worship us and we are gratefully accepting all their help. Needless to say I love them, I respect them. I can’t imagine not to have them in my life, because just like my real parents they are a huge part of me.