Alexandra Iulia Corcode
I was made to die but I’m here to stay with you
Victor, 95, and Susana, 92, have been married for over seventy years, living alone in the small village of Sângeorzul Nou in northern Romania. After the death of their only child in 1993, and those of family and friends they rely on each other totally. Victor had been blind for several years but after Susana was sexually assaulted in an attempted robbery in 2019 the couple became even more reliant on one another.
While Susana’s physical pain healed within a few weeks, the psychological trauma pushed the couple much further. Alone in a ghost village, their humble lifestyle became unbearably harsh. Liver cirrhosis put Victor in the hospital two months after Susana’s ordeal, and his death from the disease on October 8th 2019 has filled Susana’s remaining days with apprehension.
Their story isn’t unusual, for many of the four million people who fled Romania amid the 1989 revolution, there were elderly relatives and parents who were left behind. Without the presence of the younger kin, those who remained after the revolution were left doubly vulnerable to the precarity of life in impoverished rural areas - scant access to running water, phone lines, gainful employment, and a rise in violent crime.
Even though Victor and Susana had a comfortable life when they were younger the challenges of trying to cope without much outside support, pushed them into a hard and precarious life. This story is about the love and support that defined their relationship in the midst of the difficulties they faced.