Mother was never happy anymore. Every morning, she would begin the dreary walk from our run-down house, muttering about the weather, about the war we came here to escape, about the war that follows us everywhere. “Dos gantse lebn iz a milkhome,” she muttered to herself, each time she came home. “All of life is a war.” And it was, for her. Every day, the horrors of Berlin followed her. The sacrifices she made to get here. The family she lost, the family she left behind. All for her children, my brother and me, Connor and me. Every day she walked to the post office, praying to leave empty-handed. Praying that she wouldn’t come back with a letter, that dreaded letter from the government. Praying that Conner still lives, fighting in the front lines of the war. Every day, begging the postman to slip in a letter to Connor for free. We didn’t have a cent to spare, not on paper, not on a stamp, not on anything.
When I woke up that morning, the only thing I could hear from my room was the downpour of rain, crashing down on the roof of our tiny house. But regardless, Mother woke up, bright and early, just like any other day, and drearily began her trudging walk to the post office. Per usual, she began to cry. Crying the tears of a parent alone, a parent scared. Immediately after she left, I left, walking with the same dreariness as I headed to the grocery store. A car in the distance rumbled as it got closer and closer. As it passed by me, I waved, and the driver slowly waved back, tears in her eyes. “Battle of Normandy. We were Slaughtered,” she said to me as she drove by. What if Connor was - ? I bolted home, my heart racing, and sat down on the couch waiting. I prayed to myself, prayed that she came empty-handed. As the door opened, I could see her hand grasping a letter. She handed me the letter. “Read. For me,” she said in Yiddish. I had to be strong for her. She couldn’t read the letter, so I had to do it for her. Shaking, I read the letter, my heart beating faster by the second. “Dear Momma and Jacob. I have just been chosen to participate in the battle of Normandy. After this battle, I’ll be home immediately! Lots of Love, Connor.”
A million thoughts racing through my head, Mother and I made our way back to the house, both crying. I, tears of sadness. Her, tears of joy.