05. From childhood to adulthood

I was born in a small town in the west part of Poland. It was my father’s hometown and my parents lived there after they got married. When I was five months old, my mother and father divorced. After that, I never had the opportunity to meet my father because he didn’t care about me at all.

My mother raised me on her own with the help of her parents, whom she returned to right after breaking up with my father. My grandparents lived in Eastern Poland, in a small village situated among fields and forests. The house was not big, but very nice: white with characteristic maroon shutters. My grandparents had a small farm. They mainly cultivated grain and had  livestock: a horse, usually two cows, a few pigs, hens and cocks. The farm work was very hard and exhausting. Grandparents did not have agricultural machines, but only the necessary tools needed to cultivate the land. So it was work beyond their strength. We lived very modestly, but we never ran out of bread and always had enough money for our needs.

My mom helped my grandparents to run the farm. When my grandparents got old, she took over the farm and started running it on her own. After the death of her grandmother and grandfather, she continued working on the farm, and I helped her. Unfortunately, the hard work exhausted my mother physically. She was a short, petite woman, therefore working on the farm was beyond her physical strength. Hard work exhausted my mother and had a very negative impact on her health.

When I started primary school, and then continued learning in high school and at university, it was expensive for us so we still lacked money because of educational costs. To earn some extra money, my mother – regardless of her health condition and chronic fatigue – took up an additional job a cleaner. First it was work at a local school, then at various factories in a nearby town. She really wanted me to finish the studies and not have to work hard on the farm as she did.

Working on the farm and taking up additional activities outside the farm had a very negative impact on my mother’s health. As a result, she began to suffer from many diseases and ailments. Finally, bad health condition made it impossible for her to continue running the farm. Then she was granted a disability pension and waited with hope for the moment when I would finish my studies and start working.