Farewell to my uncle
It was a great sorrow to lose my father more than 15 years ago. Only days before his sudden and unexpected death, I had the opportunity to talk over coffee with him on various issues, including hypocrisies within communities. Mourning after losing a loved one is quite normal, but why do we fail to adequately and perhaps passionately embrace each other while we are still alive? Why are we failing to share things, but instead are constantly at each other’s throats, trying to make life as difficult as possible for all of us?
Social media exposes our personal lives. Personally, other than work-related things or nature pictures and videos, I do not like sharing details of my personal life on social media. Individual selfies might be fine, but when it comes to sharing photos with some other people without getting their consent, I believe I have to think twice. If you are atop a mountain overlooking the beautiful Bergen with a great view of the lake Ambach near Munich or somewhere with a great view of the frozen harbor of Helsinki, for example, it might be difficult to get the approval of everyone in the foreground of an outstanding panoramic city view. Yet, those ought to be exceptions, I believe.
As has always been the case with people losing a beloved one, the person mourning becomes deficient. Life continues but the time passing does not take away the pain of the loss; it only teaches the person to register the reality that the beloved one has travelled to eternity.
It was a shock for me yesterday when on social media I saw a photo of my uncle, Hasan Kanlı, and a caption beneath it informing that he passed away. He had some minor complaints due to old age, but was generally healthy. Since he retired from public service after many years of serving for the Turkish Cypriot resistance, later in the military and many years in government offices, he and his wife Peral spent time like a sparrow couple, always together, listening to the same songs in peace and tranquility, and with full confidence in each other. Never have I ever heard Uncle Hasan complain about his health, though I am sure it ailed a lot after spending many years up in the mountains during the time of the resistance. Though he died of a heart attack at a relatively young age of 62, my father’s lungs failed after being exposed to so much cold weather in the mountains during very traumatic years, and spent the rest of his life battling the results of the mishap left in his body.
Today’s Turkish Cypriot people owe a lot to these brave people who defied all odds of not having sufficient arms and devoted their everything — including risking their lives — to protect their community, which was under a merciless annihilation campaign from their Greek Cypriot neighbors.
They often say that everything comes to an end for the one who dies, but those who survive after them have to endure the pain of losing someone, while they continue to face life challenges. I learned about the death of my uncle so late that I could not attend his funeral. I have still not been able to develop the courage to call or visit his wife or my cousins. It is at such difficult moments perhaps that it comes to mind the great moments we shared, the great mistakes that were made, and the chances of togetherness that were missed.
I was more or less in a lost state of mind when I lost my father. There was pain but I was unaware of how great my loss indeed was. My father was fond of raising us to become rebellious individuals, so rebellious to fight first with him. I realized after his death the great role he played in my life and the great love and respect I nourished in myself for him. Now, after the demise of my uncle I feel a similar loneliness. I must say I was not aware until the moment I learned of his death how much I respected him, the devoted love toward his wife and the lifelong value to be kind with everyone even in the worst of life challenges. He left a sense of emptiness.
Farewell dear Uncle Hasan, until we meet again.