My grandmother, Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Frolova (Ivanova) passed away on March 3, 2016, at the age of almost 75. Two strokes with brain hemorrhage over the course of ten days took a toll on her strong body, which couldn’t withstand the ordeal.
May she rest in peace…
When a loved one passes away, as our wise daughter Sonya noticed beyond her years, it no longer matters to them. They are already indifferent and feel nothing; they exist in a different, perhaps, dimension. But for those who loved this person, it becomes deeply sorrowful and heavy. It is loss and pain. A significant loss.
Who was our grandmother Lyusya? What kind of life did she live? Who was she in this life?
A child born in 1941, a few months before the bloodiest war, miraculously survived the harsh wartime years, enduring the terrible famine that followed the Great Victory. A daughter who was raised without a father in difficult circumstances and forced to care for her sick mother, whom she greatly feared.
Gardening, school, seven grades, and then work as a sailor, as she came from Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky) and traveled along the Volga on her uncle’s vessel, whom she loved and respected. An early marriage out of necessity, falling in love with her daring yet handsome Frolov after marriage, roaming with her husband to various construction sites across the Soviet Union, giving birth to two children, consciously parting ways with him, settling in Kazakhstan, and marrying a worthy man named Vasily Petrovich Nazarov.
At the age of 45, she gave birth to her last and most beloved son, Viktor. In the meantime, she also raised her two nieces, aged 11 and 13, after the tragic death of her beloved sister. Just imagine the responsibility and care for five young souls, none of whom later became unworthy or criminals! All the children, so to speak, grew up to be respectable individuals.
A grand, fulfilling life. A strong (or perhaps, vulnerable) woman!
She was my mother-in-law. A good mother-in-law. In the beginning, as it often happens, there was friction between us. It was a tough adjustment. After graduating from university, and being married to her daughter for almost five years, with my wife pregnant with our first son, we had a serious falling out with … my mother-in-law. I never called my mother-in-law “mom,” considering it incorrect and insincere, as a person only has one mother.
It so happened that during that time, before starting work and a career, we stayed at my wife’s parents’ house for almost a month. As they say, guests, like fish, begin to smell bad after three days. One day, towards the end of our vacation, my mother-in-law deliberately, so that I could hear, started loudly lamenting about the fate of her pregnant daughter, saying things like, “What awaits you, my poor child!
The job at the university that I was hired for was poorly paid, and we didn’t have a flat in Almaty. Naturally, we didn’t have any savings either. As a mother, I understand her perspective, but at that moment, it just infuriated me… I confronted my mother-in-law in the most direct way possible. Perhaps the most decent word I used towards her was “goat.” I admit my fault. In such moments, you understand certain mountain peoples of the Caucasus, where personal communication between a mother-in-law and son-in-law is not customary. Only indirect communication. Gifts – yes, but communication – no. It’s a tradition. I must give credit to my wise wife who, without hesitation, took my side at that moment. We didn’t speak to my mother-in-law for two years after that. Much has happened since then.
Ten years after our long-forgotten argument, my wife and I bought a cozy apartment in a good neighborhood in Almaty and gave it to our parents as a gift. They moved in at the beginning of the 2000s. They didn’t take long to adapt since a good person quickly adjusts. After the gloomy town of Shakhtinsk, a mining town in the Karaganda region, Almaty, which was still the capital of Kazakhstan at that time, became a more pleasant and comfortable place to live for them.
Below is a selection of photographs from that period. I believe it was a happy time for my grandmother. By the way, during that period, my older brothers-in-law (husbands of my cousins Irina and Valya) moved to Germany with their families, so over time, I inherited the vacant spot of the “beloved son-in-law.
Grandmother first traveled abroad with us in 2004. It was in Kemer, Turkey. Below are a few photographs from that period.
Babushka Lyusya, whom we jokingly called the “brave tourist,” truly fell in love with the country of Bulgaria. She visited us in Varna, I believe, three times. According to her made-up rules, she stayed with us once every two years. She was a wise woman, and we always looked forward to her visits. Below are some photographs from that period.
Grandmother’s favorite hobbies were chess, checkers, and the card game “podkidnoy durak.” Only a minimal percentage of elderly women play chess. Babushka Lyusya played chess quite well. Without knowing the theory but having a considerable amount of practice, especially from playing with her grandfather frequently, her skill level was around the second or first category. We played with her for the last time a few weeks before her passing. She surprised me by completely changing her tactics compared to what they were a year ago. So much so that she now chose to play with the black pieces instead of the white ones, which she had always preferred earlier. Out of the more than a thousand games we played together over the years, her winning percentage was quite high.
She played checkers online. She had an account on the mail.ru website. I personally witnessed how frustrated players would scold her for her remarkably successful games.
As for the card game “podkidnoy durak,” it was a delight. Whenever I had the opportunity, I gladly joined my grandmother and grandfather for a game. Everything was taken seriously and formally. A comfortable spot, the sound of the television lowered, strong tea, some cookies and snacks, and always a recording of the game. The game itself continued until one side reached ten losses. A draw counted as 0.5 points. More often than not, my grandfather, Petrovich, ended up being the most “noble” fool. Grandma also lost at times but mostly tried to cleverly get rid of her cards first, which she often succeeded in doing. In our last game, a couple of weeks before her passing, they left me as the fool. No hard feelings.
When a person passed away, only the memories of her remain.
Grandmother, we remember you, we love you. You will remain not only in our hearts but also in the memory of us and our descendants.
May your memory be bright, and may you rest in heavenly peace.