When my mother died, on the 25th of October 1980, I was 9 years old for almost a month. The day of her burial was the most awful day from my life. At the cemetery, I wanted to jump after her in the tomb and I wept on our way to our house, I wept desperately, and my father rebuked me not to weep anymore.
In the evening, we were looking together with my sisters at the pictures of our mother and we were weeping. She was the only person where we could find love, protection and consolation. The father was like a tyrant with our mother and with us and now we felt alone at the disposal of our tyrant. We were not talking about that, but each of us had the same feelings. While we were looking at the pictures and were crying, our father came to the eldest sister, so that all could hear: “Lydia, you have to wait until you get marry, because I have to be the first to marry”. Lydia was only 17 years old then and she had never been proposed marriage, but she couldn’t even think in that desperate moment about marriage or wedding. The father’s words panged us to the innermost of our hearts, it was a direct, hard attack, directed to our hearts. We were all astonished and we didn’t know what to say and what to do.
In the next days our house was overwhelmed with a heavy atmosphere. The main reason was that our mother was not with us anymore, and we thought only about her the whole day. The second reason that increased the pressure upon us was the fear for our father and for the “news” brought by him concerning to his close marriage.
One night, someone came to our gate and called our father. He went out and they began to beat him. In his fear and desperation, he began to cry: “Lydia, Ileana, hasten to assist me!” What assistace could he wait from two 15 and 17 years old girls, that were desperate and frightened? Poor of them, full of fear, they hastened, but not to assistance, they hastened to jump the fence of our neighbour, because a great fear filled them up. The brothers of a young man who died, came to beat my father. He was working as a watchman at a petrol station and all those brothers had stollen some metal bars. They had had a dealing with my father beforehand, and it had happened that the father had broken their dealing and he had run after them when they had stollen those bars. While they had been running from my father, their brother had stumbled and he had hurt himself to death of a metalic bar. Then, the brothers came to revenge themselves. The father managed to escape somehow and he fled from them. I don’t remember where I ran, but I only remember the great fear that I had that evening too. When we gathered in the house again, the father rebuked them very badly and he was close to beat them because they hadn’t hasten to save him from the hands of those who had come to beat him.
In a day, Lenuta, the youngest sister, went to the cemetery to paint our mother’s cross and to clean the place around it. When she was back, the father rebuked her badly and he told her that that was reason so that she could go to visit the relatives of our mother. He banned us to go to our mother’s relatives. He told us to forget about all of them. But they were the only place where we could find attention, care and understanding. So, when the father started to rebuke Lenuta because she had been at the cemetery without his permision, she began to weep and she told him that when the mother had been alive, he had tortured her in all possible ways and then he didn’t even allow us to go to her tomb. That made him very furious, but he didn’t beat Lenuta, but he threatened us once again that he would break off our feet if he heard that we went to visit some of our mother’s relatives.
But, after a while, the father began to tell our sisters to go to our mother’s relatives, so that they might take care of them, etc. He didn’t include me to go with them, since I was the only son, and he wanted me to stay with him.
The next blow received by us was on the 7th of November, thw weeks after the death of our mother. Our neighbour, who lived across two houses and whose name was also Vasile Filat, was playing the wedding of one of his children. I don’t remember exactly whose wedding was. When the wedding party of the bridegroom or of the bride, I don’t remember exactly, came, my father was the one who was meeting the wedding with song and dance in front of the whole village. That broke our hearts to pieces. It was late in the autumn, it was cold and we were at a fence looking at that scene and we couldn’t believe our eyes what we saw. When our father came home, he told more deliberately to our sisters that they had to go to the relatives. They did that and they took me to my great joy, though they risked very much.
We went to uncle Nicolae, the youngest brother of my mother, that was just married. He took us and he cared about us, though it was very difficult to him. Not many days had passed and we heard that our father brought another woman at home. The village was talking about that. Because I was his only boy, the father tried by all means to hold me together with him. So, he came to school and took me at home. I felt like a frightened animal captured into a trap and I was trying by all means to escape. When I entered in the house, the woman whom my father had brought came to me. She was dressed up in the same dress my mother had been wearing when she had told me she had taken sick. I remembered how my mother had been coming on the road that day and how beautiful and full of kindness she had been. Her being had brought so much joy and consolation in my soul of a child. Suddenly I was hit by an undescribable hatred. It seemed to me that if I had a knife in my hand, I would have striken with it my father and the woman who had dared to enter into our house and to dress up my mother’s dress. That woman came to me and kissed me and I wanted to vomit after that kiss. I managed hardly not to do it. I said that I want to go outside and suddenly I began to run with all my strength to my uncle’s house, where all of us were.
After that case, the father started to chase me, that he might bring me to him and to stay with him. Everywhere I met him, I started to run as quickly as I could. The greatest fear was that he could come at the lessons and there I would not be able to run. He came some times and took me from the lessons, but I ran as I had the occasion to do that. After a while, I began to aim a window from the classroom, which I though to break off and to run, if the father came to take me again.
Because we had two houses close by, my sister went to ask the judges to be given the second house. But the father put much pressure there, that I may be given to him.
In a day, I remember how two of our aunts came to uncle Nicolae and they started to “convince” Lydia to give me to the father, saying: “You don’t have to hold Vasilica with you. He will grow up an evil serpent as your father is and you will only have problems and pain with him”. My sister was weeping and she didn’t say anything. Uncle Nicolae was not at home. I hadn’t heard the other time that, but I understood that my sister was put under a very, very much pressure like that.
Our eldest sister, Profira, was married then, but her husband was one not very different of my father, by the way he behaved, so that we couldn’t wait for any help from him. Instead of taking care of the family, he was loosing all money on playing cards and he didn’t spend the nights at home. Our sister had the same sufferings as we had. Later, I could find that when she took me at her to stay for a month, he bothered her permanentely that I ate too much, and other things like that one. So, being under such pressures of the aunts, of the father and of the other hard situations we found ourselves, it seemed that my sisters made a decision to send me to the orphanage, but not to my father, because they already knew what that meant. I, being a child and naive, rejoiced when I heard that I would go to the orphanage. But God protected me and my “joy” was not fulfilled.
It was already decided that I went to the orphanage and in the evening, before my departure, our youngest sister, Lenuta, stayed the whole night, untwined some older clothes, that she could find and she knitted a robe to me, a motley cloth, as that of Joseph. Joseph’s cloth was motley, because it was a rich one, but my cloth was motley because it was of the last ends of our poverty. In the morning, Lenuta gave that robe to me and I was very glad. Then, all my clothes went in a small brown bag and we were ready to go to the orphanage. Then, suddenly, my sister, Lydia raised up, went to the door, leant against the door frames and couldn’t stop crying. (I can’t stop my tears while I write these lines) Then, she told very determined: “Vasilica, I will give the last piece of bread to you, but I will not let you go anywhere from me. And I will prove to the whole world that you will be a MAN and not what they say. You will never leave. You will stay with me.” So, in this way my departure to the orphanage was annuled. What a great sister God blessed me with. Blessed be His name, because He “The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!”
Until this case and especially after it, for many times when I came home from school, I could find my sister Lenuta weeping in the pillows. I tried to cease her from weeping, but then, I found both of us weeping until evening, when Lydia came from her work. She was rebuking and reproving us every time, but she was also caressing us, telling: “My dear, it will not always be this way. We cannot change anything, we cannot bring our mother back. We have to survive. We cannot weep this way all day and night. The life is before us and we have to live it.” She was telling us all these, but even she didn’t know about God, who was looking at us from heavens, who knew our future and who says:
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD (Jeremiah 29:11–14)(NASB)
Even if the words from above were told by God to the people of Israel in a certain context from their history, they applied with the same power to us, too. At that time, we didn’t know anything about Him. I will continue to write about the years from school, then from faculty, how I came to know God personally and how He transformed my life totally.
Translated by Djugostran Felicia