A girl sits in the window, staring into the sleepless night. There’s a heaven full of stars. Some of them are shining so bright, like they want her to be known. The moment before she was looking into an old photo album with photographs of her family. A picture of her mother when she was a little girl in her favorite flower dress playing the piano. Photos of her grandmother with big curly hair making chickensoup in the small kitchen. A photograph of an old aunt celebrating her birthday with homemade apple pie whilst blowing out the many birthday candles. Images of uncles smoking cigars who later went to war and never returned to their homes. Photos of cousins, nephews and nieces. Faraway family. Most faces she hardly knew, lives she didn’t have any idea of. A photo of her mother suddenly fell to the ground. There was a brown spot on the back of the photo which once must have been the sticky glue to paste it on. Many lives have been before her, before her mother’s and grandmother’s, her father’s and grandfather’s life. Before all these family photos were the lives of her ancestors.
Times were different back then. There was not much in times of poverty and war, but they had each other. She picked up the picture from the ground. Her mother must have been eight or nine, wearing a bow in her long straight hair, looking into the camera with a grin and big eyes full of wonder. A little princess face. A whole life lied at her mother’s feet, not having a single clue what it would bring. Sunhine and rainbows would happily fill her life; dark, bursting clouds would fight for a place in it as well. The girl tried to see if the picture already showed any trace of her mother’s misfortune that shortly happened after the photo was taken. She softly slid her finger over her mother’s cheek, kissed her beautiful eyes and held the photograph close to her heart. Death doesn’t announce itself through smiling children’s faces, but chooses its own unfathomable way. Sometimes death is sly and slow, other times it’s quick and merciless. On an misty October morning the girl’s mother found her young mother dead; she died in her sleep. Yes, death could be soft too, almost understanding. It broke her mother’s little heart. The only time her mother didn’t cry was at night when she gazed to the stars, picked the brightest one and imagined it was her sweet mother. It was her light that spoke to her and lulled her to sleep.
Many stars and years later the girl sits in the window talking with the stars like her own mother did. They’re telling her she can go to sleep now. There’s no need to be afraid. The starlight will guard her, just like her father, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles do. And her ancestors. Long after they’ve gone.