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Lucia Verman - A Tumultuous Life

Lucia was born, raised, childhood and spent the first 25 years of her life in the picturesque Bacău, the city of Bacovia, which seems to define her gentle, melancholy and loving nature.

She was the middle daughter of the family. Her two sisters always said about her, but without envy, but with admiration, that she surpassed them, both in beauty and cleverness.

That's why she may have been her parents' favorite, as she was sent to camps and field trips. But she spent most of her childhood and even adolescence holidays with her grandparents, in Crăcăoani, a village scattered on the tops of hills, where co-operatives had never reached.

The house is abandoned and dilapidated now that no one goes there. Unfortunately, her grandfather, a forester when he lived and when Lucia and her sisters went there on their holidays, is no longer to guard the forests of wood thieves who now, without shame, cut down the trees and carelessly destroy the forest.

Cracaoani

Her father, Eugen, also passed away only three months before Lucia, in September 2021.

He started as a simple, low-level worker but became a prestigious journalist, editor of the newspaper Deșteptarea din Bacău and a well-known writer with his ten novels. 

A special presentation of the journalist, writer, and man who was Eugen Verman, was made by the famous man of letters Ion Fercu, in the article "Eugen Verman, Heaven from which no one can drive him away" published before his death but as if foretelling it.

By the time Lucia was born and raised, he was already a journalist. Her mother, Georgeta, worked at a museum in Bacau. They were probably earning enough for that time. However, Lucia joked that she was always hungry and had to eat fast at the table until all the pieces of meat were gone. One day he had the great joy of finding half of <<eugenia>> on the street, that long cheap biscuit with cream in the middle, which replaced, for many, the breakfasts and even lunch at that time. She took that <<eugenia>>, escaped from someone's net, looked around to make sure no one saw her, and quickly hid it in her pocket, careful not to ask anyone for a piece of that treasure.

Once her father met Florin Piersic, the famous Romanian actor. Lucia was there too, and Florin gave Lucia a hundred Lei, the Romanian money at the time. I don't know what she did with that hundred Lei, but I know she told me this many times, and she always had a warm smile in her eyes, happiness created by that great and unexpected joy.

She didn't have good and beautiful clothes all the time. Once, she was in the 11th grade, she went to meet a colleague. She had no shoes and was wearing a pair of white Chinese sneakers. Or almost white because they were worn and re-worn and rubbed hard with a brush with soap and water. That boy looked at her sneakers in surprise and made an idiotic comment, "What, that's how you go to the party with me, you want to make them laugh at me?" Lucia returned immediately and ran home, where she cried long and hard. That wound never passed. She had a great sadness in his voice when she told me this story, even after decades and decades.

She was very pretty, and she liked to dress nicely. And she especially liked perfumes. All the years we were together, she had on her toilet, on the bathroom countertop, and in her specially arranged places, many bottles of different perfumes.

When she finished school, she got a studio apartment somewhere in the center of Bacău, not far from her parents' house, on the first floor of a small, chic, four-story building.

She liked that studio; it was bright and always full of flowers.

She started a story from which she wrote only a few pages full of melancholy and love about her studio, her neighbors, and the time spent there.

But her pain and hard struggle with the disease and the short time spent on this planet did not let her finish this story ...

As many other stories and works, started and unfinished, or only thought, or only desired.

In the 1990s, she worked at a computer center, entering data on those perforated computer cards that had spread to communist Romania and functioned for a while in post-communist Romania.

She did not earn much, but she bought some beautiful clothes from that little, including a Levi Strauss suit, an original one, not a poor-quality imitation taken from the Turks.

She didn't have a washing machine, so she washed everything by hand in a small basin where she needed to keep bringing water and changing it. She was like that all the time. Except for clothes that could not be washed with water, evening dresses, coats, or fur clothes, she always washed new things before putting them on.

She stretched some ropes along the windows and put those new things to dry. In the morning, when she got up and saw the empty ropes, she couldn't believe it, and it took her a long time to realize that her things had been stolen and she burst into long, heavy tears.

When we went to Romania together, we were there, and Lucia showed me the studio that had been hers.

The one who bought it, almost for free, from Eugen, made a pharmacy out of it. Now, it was full of people; was a big back-and-forth out there. It was in the city center, with good business traffic.

When we entered, Lucia had tears in her eyes. She couldn't stay long; she didn't want to change the image of her place with that pharmacy full of strangers and which smelled strongly of medicine.

Lucia graduated from the Faculty of Language and Literature in Bucharest.

Unfortunately, Lucia's university degrees in literature and philosophy were of little use in Canada.

Lucia was always a dreamer, but especially in the years spent in Bacău, in the shadow of her protective parents. She didn't know much about life, and especially about Canadian realities.

When she landed here, she thought she would end up in a movie, with gentlemen and women wearing long, evening toilets, even for breakfast, who had long and very deep discussions about Saul Bellow's life in Romania, her favorite author.

Fortunately for her, she quickly woke up to reality and finished her accounting studies at Seneca College. She studied diligently and with dedication and impressed the teachers who helped her, and immediately after finishing, she found work.

When we met, on a November night, she was well into the Canadian reality. 

She knew a lot more about Canada than I ever did: how kids grow up, when to plant tomatoes in the garden, when Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side Of The Moon was released, what was the price for an apartment in Toronto or a cottage in Georgian Bay and where to eat well and keenly.

She also bought a car and knew how to drive.

She didn't know only a few things. And one of them was how to use a map. She could not orient herself using the cardinal points and could not go to a grocery store unless she left from home.

The story of her antics, when she became, overnight, a guide for a bus of so-called tourists, actually black market profiteers, who were on a ten-day trip to sell clothes and other belongings in Poland, but instead of arriving in Poland, she took them to a cornfield in Ukraine, and stayed there two days as they were out of gas too, made us both laugh until our jaws ached.

Life began to flow beautifully for us from the moment we met.

We both had good jobs, we were satisfied, the children were doing well, as well as our families from overseas.

Her great desire was to settle well in Canada, buy a house, and have the whole family around her.

And, especially at Christmas, to have everyone at the table, to make <<sarmale>> and <<boeof salad>>, to see the children playing with snow, shouting and fighting, and to make everyone laugh out loud.

And such moments were exactly as she wanted them to be.

The chain of events that followed reminds me of those phrases from Marin Preda's novel, in which time had patience with people at the beginning and then no longer had.

Until 2011, we had a smooth life, with little joy and little satisfaction, but we didn't want more.

Time was patient with us.

We bought a house; it was just a semi-detached house, but for us, it was heaven; we felt at home as if we were on vacation. We went to IKEA and furnished it with cheap but beautiful things, and we went looking for paintings in the free markets and antique shops in Toronto and wherever we went. But we also bought beautiful and expensive furniture made in the Netherlands; we were tired of poor-quality Chinese goods.

We went on vacation in Montreal or Niagara. We had many fond memories of Niagara; we had taken a trip to Niagara just the day we met and got married there.

In 2006, Lucia's father, Eugen Verman, visited us, and we went together to a few meetings organized by Observatorul Magazine.

At the same time, Lucia published some of the articles and poems she wrote, trying to convey aspects of life and philosophical reflections in this way. Lucia's writings found their deserved place in the pages of Observatory magazine.

We visited Romania and Spain and went to the Dominican Republic and Mexico on holidays.

A small piece of these holidays was ruined because something always happened to Lucia; she was sunburned, her skin was reddening her legs, or poisonous spiders bit her. But these passed, and in the end, we remembered them with nostalgia, not with pain or regret.

In 2008, Lucia gave up her permanent job in accounting and started her own company.

The company was doing well; she was working with Unix, a very good Pakistani, who ate some cakes you couldn't even touch with your finger for how sweet they were.

But in 2011, the wheel of time began a different movement.

Time was running out on us!

Lucia closed her company, Unix married and went to Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, and Lucia went to Spain to care for my mother, who had fallen ill and was hospitalized. My mother recovered, and we went to Spain for Easter. It was one of the most beautiful holidays. My mother felt very good in Lucia's presence, always asking, "Where's my daughter?" Lucia was very happy then.

Unfortunately, we had to return to Spain after only four weeks to attend my mother's funeral.

The following year, Lucia's mother began to show signs of illness. She had been ill at home for a long time; she did not want to go to the hospital, she did not trust doctors; she rather wanted to go to a monk's hermitage, faithful and ecclesiastical her mother was.

Just as she did when my mother became ill, Lucia went to Romania to take care of her mother and was with her and cared for her with much love.

But in February 2014, her mother passed away.

Losing her mother was a huge blow to Lucia.

Lucia's mother was a typical Moldovan woman. She didn't have much time for her personal laughter and joy. Her care was for the three girls to have clean food and clothes and to learn in school. She didn't have many holidays either; the girls went on holidays, especially Lucia. In 1999, however, Lucia called her parents to visit her; she had finished college, had a good job, and lived in a nice apartment.

The six months spent in Canada were unforgettable for both of them; they always stayed and relived memories of how and what they did then and told us this with eyes full of tears of joy.

In 2014, we bought a larger, one-and-a-half-acre property in a small, beautiful town in Simcoe County, north of GTA.

But her mother's death overshadowed the joy of moving to the new house.

Our dog, Bee, also died that summer. He was almost 18 years old and had been lovingly cared for by Lucia for the last three years after he got cancer.

2016 on New Year's Eve, Lucia contracted pneumonia, which kept her in bed for almost six months.

Then she had a few more moments of respite and happiness, but not many.

After this illness, she was always tired; she sweated a lot, and sometimes we changed the bedding every day and three rows of pajamas a night. We went to several doctors, and she did many checks and tests, but no one knew what she had.

In 2019, my brother came to visit, and we started to do some renovations to the house.

Ten years before, Lucia had sent me and my daughter to Spain from home to visit my sister while she stayed home and started extensive house renovations with a contractor whom some friends had recommended. When we returned from Spain, we did not recognize the house, this many changes she had made!

In 2019, however, she could barely hold a brush in her hand to paint the walls, an operation that had become her specialty over time as she made some perfect boundaries between the ceiling and the walls.

In 2020, in February, all this mess of events related to the COVID epidemic began.

In our small town, where not much normally happens, without neighbors around us, we have not been too affected by isolation and restrictions. We were isolated anyway, and we were in no hurry to leave the house if it was not necessary. 

The end of winter, spring, and summer of 2020 has been quiet for us. 

We went out into the yard and put food in the bird feeder; all kinds of birds came there, and some nibbled the seeds from our hands. We fed the nearly 60 wild turkeys that visited us regularly or took walks, on foot or by car, on our quiet streets. 

And we watched The Game of Thrones with Fluffy, Lucia's kitten, always sitting next to her and the other two in front of the wood fire we lit daily, even when it was warm outside.

And when it was snowing, Lucia would play in the snow like a child.
Lucia liked the winter and the snow.

Unfortunately, Lucia had begun to feel increasingly tired, and her back pain from many years ago had reappeared.

The storm started in September 2020.

It started with Fluffy, the kitten Lucia loved so much. He had diabetes; Lucia had taken care of him for two and a half years, giving him daily insulin injections. He went out slowly and quietly in a few days.

Then, we received the news from Romania that Eugen, Lucia's father, had entered the hospital. Initially, he fell and broke his leg. But once in a hospital bed, he could not move and remained so until the end of his life.

Also, in September, Lucia went to see a dermatologist for the red spots on her eyes. That doctor, a very energetic and dedicated Korean woman, did a biopsy that showed that Lucia had amyloidosis. 

The doctor insisted on other tests, argued with our family doctor's office because they did not cooperate as fast as she would like, and found that Lucia also has multiple myeloma cancer. Later, after another six months, the team of doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, where Lucia was undergoing chemotherapy, found that she also had lung cancer.

In December 2021, her fragile body, tired of years of fighting the disease, gave up, and she passed away on December 8 at 6:42 PM.

Her wish was to be cremated, and her ashes spread in the woods around our house.

On December 19, on a clear, sunny winter day, at 3:33 PM, we fulfilled her last wish and spread her ashes over the Natural Reserve's lake near our house, guarded by eight Weeping Willow and at the root of three towering fir trees on the lakeshore.

Her ashes spread in the wind, and nothing was left of Lucia Verman on this Earth.

But she will live forever in our hearts and souls, those who knew, cherished, and loved her when she was among us!

Lucia was a music lover, and in this tumultuous part of her life and our life, she discovered and was always listening to Asaf Avidan's songs.
The last song Ludia listened in the day of her leaving this world, hours only before the end, was this singer's song  My Old Pain.
These are the song lyrics:

Every time the Weeping Willow dances in the breeze

Please remind to everybody that I smiled with ease

Not too long ago

So honey, don't let go

Of what you know

Of me.

Every time the hungry waves come dancing in the sand

Please remind this broken shell used to be me

Not too long ago

So honey, don't let go

Of what you know

Of me

Take heed of the ocean and the scent of the storm

And whisper the west wind, and guide me back home

 

That is what I am doing, and I will do every moment of my life on this planet.

Last winter with Lucia

Music: The Game Of Thrones

The Lake where the ashes were spred
Place of eternal rest
Last winter with Lucia
Etajul 3
Avidan

Lucia Photo Gallery -  Click any image to open the gallery

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