Teodora was born into wealth but she realized very quickly that all matters related to money were, at best, transient, and at worst, deceptive.
The Russian Revolution, splayed out in front of her homestead in Moscow, reinforced the notion that wealth had no privilege when the poor or, more specifically, those who advocated for the poor, like the Bolsheviks, had only one goal in mind. Theirs was the redistribution philosophy wherein the wealthy give all the gold and possessions they had to those who carried and wielded the weapons of destruction—guns, knives, torches.
Teodora accepted at a pre-pubescent age that power comes out of the gun. It was as simple as that. Stalin’s primordial philosophy of this type of evolution was quickly accepted by Teodora who vowed that she would leave Russia as soon as it was possible.
Interestingly enough, the only really viable memory Teodora ever had of the Whites and Reds fighting in the Moscow streets was the Typhus Plague, and not flashbacks of bullets or gun muzzles.
Until the day she died, some seven decades later, her one and only fear was always Typhus—a debilitating condition where fever, diarrhea, and death find common ground.
Her vivid memory of the ravaging effects of Typhus Fever had more to do with a young aspiring Russian poet who died in her arms in a spasm of death. She would retell this haunting scene over
and over again without any elaborations or accompanying details. For her, it was sufficient to say that at the age of thirteen (or was it fifteen?) she had known death as only one who had loved could understand and bear for the rest of her natural life.
In fact, it would not be too melodramatic or even a hyperbole to suggest that Teodora’s life throughout the Russian Revolution; World Wars I and II; as well as, the Cold War was suffused with one emotion above all others—love.
Love of men; love of her children; and love of her family.
When she too was in the throes of death’s lethal infusions of pain, she would mutter these words to her eldest son:
“Don’t forget to love. That’s all you will remember. . . Love! The rest you forget! The pain; the hurt; the mistakes; and the anger. Love, my son, be in love and be loved!”
Those were her dying words. Believe me, I know. I was the one who pulled her off life support.