Cegiełkas - Poland
Maria and Marian Cegiełka celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in 2013. Marian, born in the town of Grabów, turns ninety-two years old while Maria, from Glowaczowa, will be aged eighty. Maria and Marian, parents of Magdalena, an only child, have lived in Warsaw, Poland since 1953. Grandparents to four boys in Canada they are ecstatic when their closest family visits from across the Atlantic Ocean.
Marian survived labour camps in Germany, weeks of the Warsaw Uprising and two mass executions on the streets of the 'fighting city' of Warsaw. After World War II Maria and Marian witnessed their country fall under the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Communism.
In September of 1998 Maria, was getting off of a bus when she let some older ladies in front of her. As she got off the doors closed on her, she struggled to free herself, the bus began to drive away and she fell under it. Passengers on the bus yelled to the driver to stop because a woman had fallen! The bus did not stop and the horrible accident that ensued crushed her right leg. Maria has suffered greatly for close to fifteen years. She does not leave home and is very limited in her mobility around their apartment. The disability has left her with continued physical pain and a deep and lasting impact on her psyche.
Although in recent years the Cegiełkas have hired a helper, Marian still tends to many of Maria’s daily needs. Rituals seem to keep them going and although Marian’s overall physical strength has greatly diminished in recent years, he manages to leave home from time to time.
Images made in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018.
The year after the first images were taken, a return to the Cegiełkas over the Christmas holidays in 2014.
Visits in 2017, more than two years later.
Marian Cegiełka passed away on May 15, 2018 after returning home from a week-long stay in hospital.
His immediate family members arrive from Canada to tend to funeral arrangements and to say goodbye to their beloved father and grandfather.