A day without them…

A day without them…

This is the first Mothers’ Day that we will observe without them.

Last year, on Mothers’ Day we lost Rabia Özteke, the beloved mother of my better part Aydan. She was an incredibly gentle lady, a great cook, a caring mother, a joyful friend who in her last few years suffered a lot because of Alzheimer’s. She was a great woman with very sharp intellect and memory and developing Alzheimer’s was particularly painful for her.

Her funeral in her hometown Afyonkarahisar was a real passionate farewell to an elegant lady by almost the entire city. There was no virus, no travel restrictions and her family, scattered all around the country, was at the mosque and later at the cemetery to fulfill the last duty for the eldest member of the Tekevelioğlu Turkoman tribe.

I miss her very much. May she rest in peace.

My mother was battling cancer for the last 10 years of her life. She was a stubborn, opinionated lady, the central pillar of a huge family of sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and of course grandchildren. Her name was Şerife and my father was often joking that she must have been confused, unaware that there was no such post in Cyprus, and insisting on behaving like a sheriff of an American town. She was not feeling insulted. On the contrary, with her cunning smile on her face, she would reply, “Behave well or face the consequences.” She was full of wit. Unlike my father who was a socialist and an atheist, she was a devoted practicing Muslim and a very strong supporter of Rauf Denktaş.

2018 and 2019 were particularly difficult times for her. She underwent so many operations, entering a coma twice. She suffered a serious brain hemorrhage and managed to come back with the same shine in her eyes. Up until her last few hours, despite occasional lapses, she had a sharp memory and remained in full control of the family.

When I last saw her, she was unconscious, but her half-open eyes were still glaring full of life energy. She failed to make a comeback, and on Sept. 9 she departed to eternity, orphaning us.

All her life she was source of inspiration. While battling cancer and having serious pains, just two years ago she was helping a municipality tutoring groups of young girls how to make good halloumi through traditional methods. She was always a traditional Cypriot woman who would not allow anyone past through the front gate of her home without eating something or have at least a cup of Turkish coffee. My late father was often complaining that a medium-sized coffee shop cannot consume the amount of coffee spent by my mother.

I miss her so much. May she rest in peace.

We might not always appreciate our mothers and fathers and often behave as if they will always be with us in good and bad times. Unfortunately, as is underlined in all religions, everyone who was born will have to taste death as well.

Could there ever be a timely death? Whenever death comes, the one who departs, indeed departs untimely at least for their loved ones. My mother-in-law was 91 and my mom was 83 when they departed to eternity. When my father passed away, he was only 62 years “young.” My grandfather passed away at the age of 83. My granny was 88 when she started her journey to afterlife. I had friends who fell at very young age in the 1974 Cyprus operation. They were in their teens. Irrespective of what age it comes, death is always untimely.

Still, irrespective at what age death comes, it is always very difficult for those left behind to accustom themselves to the physical absence of their loved ones. Perhaps that is why on a wall of a Paris cemetery it is written, “Here lies very important people who left behind very important unfinished jobs,” reminding us to care for our loved ones when they are still living, rather than mourning behind them after they walk to eternity. But what is life? Is it not a trip to oblivion between birth and death?

Thus, what is important is not how long that trip to oblivion was, but rather whether or not it was decorated with dignity and integrity.

Yesterday was also the 48th anniversary of the death of three young nationalist leftist brave sons of this country, who walked to the gallows on May 6, 1972, chanting a “Fully independent Turkey.” It is a duty indeed to remember Deniz Gezmiş, Hüseyin İnan and Yusuf Aslan…

Yusuf Kanlı,