Vitauts Take 4 (Liesma)

Vitauts Take 4 (Liesma)

All of my life, I had seen my mother, Liesma and my father fighting and arguing. I recall one very poignant and powerful moment when dad had missed getting me to a doctor’s appointment and my mom just opened up a can of Latvian woman whoop ass on him in the car. What started out as an argument escalated to her screaming about divorce. Divorce! I must have been 8 years old and scared out of my mother-loving mind listening to her rant and rave. Divorce? Because of me? Because of a doctor’s appointment?

Vitauts Blog - 5 (1)That was just one of many highlights of their constant fights throughout their 50+ years of marriage. The points isn’t to denigrate their relationship because you don’t stay together for 50 years without some modicum of love, but their marriage certainly wasn’t the romantic movie that dad now makes it out to have been.

But in the sepia tones of his fading memories, he has elevated my mother to almost sainthood, lamenting the days that they no longer have together. He visited her grave nearly every day while he still lived in Lincoln, and he brought her flowers from her roses that grew in the front of the parsonage. When winter came, he bought flowers from the pharmacy down the street, and he still continues this tradition at least a few times a month when he ventures down to the Latvian church either with some of us or on his own.

Toward the end of her life, my sisters and I recall how mom suffered under the rule of Vitauts. He wasn’t mean or abusive or anything, but he tortured her in subtle ways. He would watch terrible movies and make her sit with him and watch them. They would play cards with my cousin John and yell at one another, although the yelling did mellow with age. She would whisper to us harshly, “You will never know,” and threaten to walk into Holmes Lake and just end it all.

Who knows how serious she was about all of that. It was always her word against his. Vitauts Blog - 1He always came across as a polite gentleman when we visited in Lincoln, but we never really knew him. He never really wanted to be known.

In fact, when we brought the grandchildren around, and they were little and rambunctious, he would suffer us for thirty minutes or so, and then disappear into the confines of his office in the basement. He would suggest that he had work to do, but mom told us that he couldn’t take the commotion, and he usually took a nap on the couch. Again, his word against hers.

 

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