(The script turned out to be 5 minutes too long. This is a story I took out of the script)
No one expected my aunt Rosme to go crazy. The oldest daughter of Anna, she had always had it together.
To her life was about putting things in order – things that were random and in disorder, like her house, boxes of apples for winter, furniture, her husband, children, cows and 6 million bees. For she was a beekeeper at a collective farm and one hundred and twenty beehives were entrusted to her care.
Every morning Rosme would get up at 5, milk and feed the cows, nudge her husband and kids up and for the rest of the day would not stop for a minute, busily straightening things out, preventing them from falling into the abyss of Chaos, urging her husband and children to run along.
But no one could keep up with such a pace. Her husband wanted to read a book, or listen to birds chirping. Her children wanted to sleep till Noon, then go dancing.
Rosme would not let it affect her. Even toiling alone, she could get the work of 30 men done.
Then her husband died, probably out of feeling useless and unappreciated. Then her daughter almost killed herself and was checked into a mental hospital, which she never fully left again. Then her son married a woman who didn’t like Rosme and they never came to visit.
Rosme still would get up at 5 in the morning and do the work of 30 men.
Then her favorite brother-in-law’s car went out of control on a road not far from her house. The car spun around 5 times before it hit the bottom of the embankment. The ambulance arrived soon after the accident. Rosme’s brother-in-law was pulled out of the wrecked car and taken to the hospital. He was in a coma.
Rosme ran to the hospital the moment she was notified and sat by his bed 24 hours a day for the next 7 days. Not even his wife was able to do that – she was a crying mess and needed help herself.
With dry eyes Rosme sat by the man’s bed holding his hand. She was told by the doctors that even in a coma, he could hear and understand her, so she told him that she needed his help to put a new roof on the barn next summer. She reminded him of the promise he had made to bulldoze her long driveway so that one didn’t have to ruin a good car to get to her house.
On the seventh day the brother-in-law died.
There was nothing she could do now, so she got up and went back home.
A few days later one of her brothers came to pick her up to take her to the funeral and he saw something he had never seen before. Rosme’s cows were unfed and un-milked. Their mooing was disturbing the usual quiet of the farm.
Rosme was sitting on a bench in the kitchen, her hair tussled, uncombed for days.
Without saying a word she followed her brother to the funeral where dry eyed she looked at her favorite brother-in-law on his last display. The coffin was then covered and lowered into the ground. Soil filled the hole and in the end there was a mound of earth where a strapping, fun and life loving guy with a great sense of humor once was.
Rosme went back home. But a few days later distraught neighbors were calling her siblings. The mooing of cows was disturbing their sleep.
The brothers and sisters arrived immediately to examine the situation, milking and feeding the desperate cows first. Rosme hadn’t lifted a finger since the funeral. She was still in the same clothes, same shoes, sitting on a bench in the kitchen.
– Why haven’t you done anything? – Asked her siblings. They didn’t realize they had a brand new Rosme in front of them.
– Don’t you see I am busy? – She said. – Voices are telling me things. Things of the life I’ve never had.