Someone once told me that the place you spend the first three years of your life is your home. I think they might be true - I can see it with my boys - they think of Denver as their home and when you ask them about their nationality, they'll tell you they are Americans. There must be something to it.
I feel the same way about Uličské Krivé - after I was born, I spent a lot of time with my Grandma when my mom needed to attend lectures and finish her master's degree. I was three years old when we moved to a town that became my new home, but we would go to the village every weekend, holiday, summer and whenever seasonal works required it.
My Grandma loved me, and I loved her so dearly it's hard to describe. She was very good to me. She worked in the store first and then in the pub - she never stopped caring after her two daughters and providing for them after Grandpa passed when she was merely around forty. She was so strong-willed, a true matriarch, independent and brave. Apart from working outside the household, she also took care of the garden and the fields - when to sow, when to harvest, how to deal with everything - it was all on her head and it was almost impossible to change when my aunt married, and a man finally appeared in the house after so many decades. She also took care of her mother-in-law until old age took her away from us.
Oh, and how she loved flowers! Her front yard changed as the seasons changed because she planted flowers according to their blooming month. For her 50th or 60th birthday she asked for a fake blooming plant - I have no idea where my mom found it but she did - the plant had pink flowers that were falling down the green leaves like small waterfalls. I thought it was a bit too much but not to my Grandma, she was ecstatic. I also remember we used to walk the meadows and pick beautiful, tall grasses she would later dry and place in clay pottery vases around the house as decorations. It looked so much like her.
It's never been the same since she passed away. The front yard is only green, the house is remodeled and there is absolutely nothing in there that would suggest that she used to live there. She was only 74. I know it's not too young but at the same it's not too old either. I feel as if she had been taken from this world prematurely - taken from the place she loved so much she never wanted to travel or leave if only just for a little bit; pulled away from the activities and hobbies she adored; prevented from going to church; stopped from worrying about how I was doing out there in the wide world; torn away from us.
I am so grateful that my sons got to meet her and spent time with her. Yet they don't understand why I'm sad that she's gone - how could they? And I think no one will ever understand how much it hurts to think about my village now that she is not there: for me my village was my Grandma. Now it's just a village. And I guess it's my boys' turn - their Grandma, my mom, makes summers great for them and it is them who want to return.