When Homecare was asked by a family to help care for 87 years old grandmother Gita, a relationship began that stretched across generations. Three times a week, the nurses faithfully provided basic nursing care for a sweet lady, but who could be a challenge too as age and illness advanced. However, a story unfolded that made worthwhile, all the loving care they gave. Granddaughter it transpired, had been brought up by Gita, and one day mentioned some things from her grandmother’s past. Gita passed away at age 93 with the whole story untold, but Homecare worker Corrie knew it was a story that should be remembered. Would daughter Vera fill in the gaps she asked? Vera agreed and so during one visit, in bursts of painful recollections, the story of this Jewish immigrant family slowly came to light. Gita had fled the Nazis as they invaded her home town in the Ukraine, learning along the way that her home had already been destroyed. She was alone because by then her husband had been killed in the war. She made a new home for herself and her two small girls in another part of the Soviet Union. When the girls were 10 and 5 years, an event that was typical of the suspicious Communist era, again changed their lives. Neighbours falsely reported her for a crime she did not commit and she was sent to prison for three years and even when released, was not allowed to have her girls back. Vera, now 74, remembers the twelve long years in the orphanage. Years of bitter cold and hunger and a sense of lonely abandonment. Later, divorce and economic hardship meant she also had to relinquish most of her daughter’s upbringing to seek employment, but to a kinder environment, to grandmother Gita’s care.
Finally, the two sisters, their children and mother 85, made aliyah to Israel, where soon afterwards Homecare became an essential part of their life. Vera remembered with delight the family’s enjoyment of Homecare’s visits. Had it upset her to ask about the sad and difficult past though? Qualms vanished when Vera held on to Corrie with warmth and love while saying her goodbyes. Not only her mother, but her older sister died, her much loved nephew and family have returned to Russia and her life in her older years is not one of ease. Homecare’s love and support is still required.