The first post in this blog was about my mother. I wanted to write more about her, but life had hidden too much turbulence for me.
My mother died on May 4th, after a 20-hour coma. She didn’t suffer, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me.
During my time of absence, I became somewhat popular on Facebook. Although it had brought me troubles before, but I wanted to challenge those who made me escape Antakya.
When my mother died, I posted this status update:
“We keep trying to tell other people’s stories and we forget we have our own. My mother passed away today; the only religious Muslim woman I know of who loved and supported a gay son. It’s a story of a great woman whom I wasn’t able to say goodbye to, because of the fucking Assad regime and this bloody war.”
If you read my first post, you already know that my mother had cancer. Yet, I think I had the cancer that cannot be medically diagnosed. Stereotyping that is. For years, I had thought that my religious Muslim mother would not accept my sexuality, and, honestly, I really did not care. Yet, I did not want to lose her, so, stupidly enough; I clung to thought that I should grant her my company. This way I would be the superior person who awards the inferiors the grace of his presence. This is what people who stereotype think anyway, isn’t it?
I was wrong. I was like all those who stereotype whom I despise. My mother came to me once to hint to me that she knew about my sexuality and that she wanted to support me. A few weeks before I left Syria, she had had an argument with her brothers who started a homophobic rant about me. Yes, she was great.
Losing a mother like her is not easy for someone like me. She was my anchor. Whenever I slowed down because of my fear for her safety, I realized it was the right choice. Even from afar, she was somehow protecting me.
A few days ago, we, the anti-Assad Syrians, were hit very hard. The Assad regime had taken back Homs – the capital of the Revolution. It is true that most Syrians know by now that whatever left of the Revolution they started in March 2011 is not going to survive this war. However, we still had hopes. They were all lost on the day the Assad regime took back Homs.
Yesterday, I was thinking about a decision I made. And then, it all hit me again very hard. I wrote something in Arabic on Facebook that is worth a translation. I wrote:
“For the first time I think about what is in my mind when I see this boring question on Facebook. The grief is growing bigger. That’s what is in my mind. The grief and sorrow will be eternal. That is also in my mind. My grief for the loss of my mother is much bigger than anyone else’s, because of so many reasons – hers and mine. It’s also because of my sexuality, which she accepted and kept loving me more, and missing me more.
I have felt the love of people around me. Yet, the human nature is stronger than any sane idea. It’s that nature that makes you want to look around for people who are sadder than you are for the same reason that cursed you with sadness. And then it forces you to start convincing yourself that you’re sadder than them until your mind finally takes over because it knows that they are actually more miserable than you are, hence you let go of your grief. But here I don’t and can’t have that. Here, I am all alone, and my human nature won’t allow my mind to tell me that there are actually people who are in more pain than I am. Because, there is no one around who is in mourning for the same person. It keeps telling me that my siblings have each other, and I am alone here with no one to feel my pain.
And when I try to recall some old memories to help me to kick away all those thoughts and suppress the nagging of that human nature, those memories do not take further back than March 2011, because it’s when my connection to everything around me had changed. After March 2011, everything changed and gained back its meaning. Even my relationship with my mother had changed after that. It renewed itself and became stronger and rooted deep down in my soul, like every other relationship that I kept after the Revolution. They all became rooted within my soul as much as my belief that Syria and Syrians deserve the freedom they peacefully demonstrated to call for. Yet, all what these memories do is bringing in more grief and more sorrow.
Those memories brought back flashes from the last day I saw my mother. It was October 2011, and she had just had a chemotherapy session. She was grumpy and in pain. Yet, she hugged me because deep down she knew it was our goodbye. I never saw her afterwards. And within less than a week, I see Homs being taken back by the regime and the old city of Aleppo being destroyed, and I realize that I’m almost 40 and alone in a foreign country. I also realize that I might not be ever able to fall in love because of the haunting images of the bodies I helped extracting from under the rubbles, and the images of children’s body parts that I had to lift from under their destroyed homes – the haunting images of a lost country.
What’s in my mind is that the grief and sorrow will stay forever. Even if my human nature eased my grief for my mother as it should do, my grief for Syria, which I might never see again, will always be in my heart… and, if it doesn’t grow bigger, it won’t ever become less and will always be there.”