Excerpt of The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag
(Page 3 of 3)
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Father and Mother did suffer deeply because of my disaster. But I will never
fully grasp the agony Grandma had to bear. Only a person who has suffered as
much as Grandma can understand how horrific, how immeasurable and ineffable her
pain was. Not only had my accident dashed, with one stroke, the joys of
motherhood she had found after years of loss, but it had also made her feel
guilty for having caused the suffering of others. Mother could just as well have
said the opposite of what slipped from her mouth, such as: Dont worry, Daaj,
we had bad luck; it was nobodys fault, but not even that would have changed
anything. Mother never forgave herself for having loudly and rashly accused an
elder, an old person who at the end of her hard, lonely, and almost meaningless
life had unexpectedly found a glimmer of hope that she might end her life among
people who loved her, and that she might leave behind somebody on this earth who
would remember her fondly and benefit from her efforts.
As Grandma joined in and fought against the force with which the earth pulled
me toward itself, her hands fought directly for my life. While admittedly her
strength could not compare with that of Father or Mother--who at that time were
young, healthy people--her meager strength was out of all proportion to her
will. With numb arms and a stiff body she fought against gravity, determined not
to give up the fight. She had to be replaced almost by force when others noticed
how terrible she looked with her clenched, toothless jaws and her convulsively
trembling head. Still, it was better this way, and not only for Grandma.
Otherwise she would have remained crouching in front of the stove, feeling
unneeded, if not rejected, while chores piled up by the hour, only to be taken
care of by Father and Mother.
Eventually, the burn healed and I survived--something I need not go into
here--for which I am eternally grateful. I am grateful not only for the sake of
my own small body and soul, but also for the sake of the people who suffered
because of me, and above all, for the sake of Grandma and that tiny glimmer of
hope she came to so late in her life.
Galsan Tschinag, The Blue Sky, translated by Katharina Rout. (Minneapolis:
Milkweed Editions, 2006). Copyright © 2006 translation by Katharina Rout.
Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions, www.milkweed.org. All rights