I shook her frail hand and she led me through an old door to her kitchen where she sat next to her stove.
She stared at me with her piercing blue eyes.
She offered me a cookie and spoke to me in a language I did not understand, yet I felt those words were full of love and excitement to meet me, to tell me her story and learn about mine. This was our first meeting.
I met Sarika ten years ago,
My boyfriend (now husband) took me to his homeland of Slovakia, in county of Rimavska Sobota to meet his family and friends. Sarika is his Great-Aunt. We had some barrier of communication but we were able to express through our smiles and holding of hands.
Her presence made me want to sit next to her, watch her, and hear her life stories. My husband translated these stories and though there were many beautiful and happy memories, I could sense that some of the dark memories still haunted her. Life was not always easy.
She had an array of emotions when she talked about her life, family and especially her brother whom she still missed. She had three siblings and she was the only one left; now she lives with her daughter and her grandson who take care of her.
Approaching 91 years of age, her health and ability to get around is very limited. She is restricted to only a few rooms and on occasion outside in the yard.
Each year that I visited with her, I noticed a decline in her health and spirits. All of her friends and many family members now rest in a cemetery.
On our last visit she disclosed to me:
I could tell that her zest for living each day is no longer a priority. She is thinking more about when her last day would come.
These series of photos represent her weakness, loneliness and solitude in her life.
Each time I left Sarika I always wondered if this will be the last time that we are together.
Sarika no longer waits for her death.
I miss her very much.