A single Mother of four

The bond of every human being with the motherland, with the native land, passes through the Mother's womb. This was also the case for me. That is why the recent Centenary of Romania is about my Mother, about her Mother and about all the Mothers who, for 100 years, have carried our country forward, rocking and soothing us through endless nights, caring for us when we were sick, raising us when we seemed a generation that was no longer growing, loving us, against all disappointments, for an eternity, and for ever and ever.

My mother didn't smile much, but her smile was as rare and as beautiful as the rainbow. And yet, her stern, serious love, scolding without having to utter a word, maintained a warm atmosphere at home - one of freedom and carefree living, even though the realities of life after the Revolution were harsh.

My mother was proud, even though in Christianity pride is said to be a bad thing. But Mama knew how to be moral and proud at the same time, and her elegant dignity, her straightforwardness that did not admit of any right of reply, her ascendancy over her interlocutor were indisputable. From her milk and her songs, which later turned into discussions, even sparkling differences, I learned the knowledge of the Word. When Mother picked up the phone or put pen to paper, you could be sure that Life, such a capricious animal - rabid, until proven otherwise - would obey and respond to her commands. And it did, every time.

My mother got sick to raise healthy children, but no one really knew her suffering, least of all those she loved most. If it's possible to die of love, then she did. She bore her cross gracefully, without reproaching anyone, not even God. My mother was a practical person, only opening conflicts she could win.

My mother had a supreme value: Family. For her family, she moved the fringes of Heaven, braving the storms of existence with that rare and seemingly defiant smile. She could not conceive of life outside her family, separated from her children, her grandchildren, her brothers and sisters, but most of all from Mother. Because, you will notice, good mothers have the cult of the Mother, to whom they relate as to an icon.

For as long as I've known her, Mom has been the same, whether there was wealth in her wallet or just a few pennies. She always told me that "the rich man does not eat with more than one mouth", and she had a supreme contempt for the upstarts of this century. To her, nothing was worse than an upstart who had achieved undeserved greatness. She loved to flog Stupidity, in all its forms. She saw in money a means, not an end of life, and in ignorance a disease from which she inoculated us early on. A high school graduate herself, but with a huge personality, not in education but in breadth of spirit, she fought stubbornly for her sons and daughters to be educated people.

I've never heard Mum talk Romania down. She loved her piece of Bărăgan where she grew up, a place where, if it weren't for the gentle soul of the people and the blessed Danube, the desert would be endless. Where love and humanity begin, where two pennies can feed four or eight mouths, as Mama and Mamaia did, there the desert ends and love begins. Mama loved that little bit of her that was everything to her.

When others sent me out to sell newspapers to support myself, my mother bought me all the newspapers of the day, out of the belief that I should write them. It was only because of her that I ended up with a career in journalism and publishing, including this piece.

My mother was Romania in the flesh: honest, painfully loving and generous, even in her darkest hour.

Be blessed, Mom, and see you till the next Centennial.


In memoriam Ecaterina Burnar, 1953-2018