I’d like to share with you all a few things about the life of our grandmother Maria Cristea.
Maria was born in the heart of Romania in the small German village of Sincu Brasov on the 14th of June, 1934, to parents Emil Ghircoias and Elena Moga, who were both of similar age, born in 1898. She was the baby of the family—she had three brothers, Gheorghe, Jon and Basile.
Life was not easy, when you consider that World War II was in full swing between 1939 and 1945. Her Father worked in agriculture, while her mother worked in a local clinic as a nurse (she died of meningitis in 1944). Grandma, at just 9 years old, was called in to help at a clinic for a few years. Not having proper transport, she lived there in one of the rooms.
The four siblings were all separated by the war, until one day as she was walking through the train station her big brother recognised her and jumped out of a slow-moving train. He arranged with the doctor she was working for and took her with him to another town.
At the age of 14, Maria found a job at Agigea Rehab and Wellness Centre as a kitchen hand, where later she met our grandfather, as he came in for a back operation. They became good friends and later got married in 1951. Maria was the faithful girl of the family, and in 1968 they became members of the SDARM church.
They lived in a little village close to the Danube Delta, where they harvested reeds which, back in those days, were used for roofing. Later making and burning mud bricks, terracotta stoves and agriculture. Their family started to grow, and they had three children: George, Angela and Gabriela.
In 1979, she had a major operation, and one kidney was removed. That same year her father died at 81 years old of liver cancer.
The children eventually married and had their own families – grandchildren came along and especially we (Daniel, Rodica and Irina) spent a lot of time around Grandma. I (Daniel) remember she bought my first violin in 1980.
Communism was not a friendly regime specially for our faith, and we decided to leave the country. August 1984, we migrated to Istanbul, Turkey and applied for an Australian visa. Late in 1985, we arrived in Melbourne and were welcomed into our church family of Keilor Park, as many of you know!
We lived for a time in Wagga in NSW, and there my grandparents enjoyed gardening. As kids we loved grandma’s salty doughnuts, strudels and tofu she often used to make. She had other hobbies like sewing, crocheting, and quilt making. We had a good time in our church community in Wagga, and later a new church was built in Uranquinty, NSW.
As time went on Grandpa and Grandma became weaker and older. In 2015, they moved back with us to Melbourne, and on the 20th of March 2016 we lost our grandfather. After that, grandma was very lonely even though we payed regular visits in the Whittlesea nursing home. Dementia took hold as time passed, she became weaker, stopped walking around and in the last 3 weeks did not eat nor drink very often. She fell asleep on the 6th of February, 2020.
We are so sad, and we will miss her dearly. Our hope and prayer is to be faithful and soon meet her, and all our loved ones, on the sea of glass and never be separated again!
Brother Daniel Cristea