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Syrian Diary: Missing My Mom, Missing a Reunion

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, shares her stories of life in the war. She recently moved to Damascus to continue her education, deciding to focus her college studies on prosthetics. She hopes to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Great news! A wonderful surprise! I’m finally going to see my mother again. It’s been seven months since I last saw my mother, and she called us to say she’s arriving tomorrow. We were over the moon. We almost danced to the news. My sisters and I stayed up waiting for my mother’s return and for our lives to resume. We needed our mother more than anything. We didn’t sleep and spent the night talking. My youngest sister turned little chatterbox. My middle sister pushed her books away and cried with joy. She has suffered the most as she hasn’t been able to adapt to her new surroundings.

The next day, we skipped school and stayed home waiting for her arrival. We shared an overwhelming happiness and excitement as we waited. Then the phone rang: There had been problems and mother wasn’t going to make it. What’s worse, she didn’t mention a date on which she could visit us. Our disappointment was insurmountable.

Another hope shattered and another little happiness snuffed out. The pain and disappointment left my youngest sister ill. My middle sister turned to her books again and stopped talking to anyone. We spent the day in an indescribable state of sadness. My aunt with whom we’re staying made fun of us, not knowing what we’re going through. She doesn’t understand that our mother is all we have left from our family. We lost our family, our community and our city. Only my mother is capable of gluing us back together. Imagine that seeing our own mother became a far-fetched dream, maybe even an impossible dream. What is this life we’ve built for ourselves here? What is this time we live in? Cold people, robbed rights and slumbering people and states. Will we be able to find ourselves at a place and time such as these? Can we leave a mark on the world or will we be changed? I don’t know.

A robot is an emotionless entity, commanded by chips and wirings. That’s what humans here have become, led by interests and money and robbed of their humanity. I feel bitter pain when I discover the ugliness of people, especially in those I love. I get upset for being taken by their appearances. I’m talking about my aunt with whom we’re staying. She stirred problems between us and used hurtful words. I did not respond as I was brought up to respect my elders. I took my sisters to our room to avoid further confrontations, but my aunt was relentless. I decided I wanted to move out with my sisters and rent our own place. We were unable to take any more pressure from my aunt, but my mother opposed my decision. She said she’s scared for us and that she’s being respectful of the traditions in our city. It isn’t allowed for three girls our age to live on their own. What would we do if the security situation deteriorated? Sometimes I get fed up with my mother’s conservative nature, even though I know she’s wise. Our city was completely destroyed, its people displaced, but its traditions are still firmly rooted. How strange!

My mother asks us to be strong, but if we dare make our own decision or take an independent step, she stops us. Should we keep silent for the sake of tradition? How strange! I’m so tired. The fact that I’m the eldest of my siblings means I am responsible for them. I often have to encourage and comfort them, assuming the role of our mother. I miss fighting with my sisters. Our silly fights used to add flavor to our days, but my relationship with my sisters has grown stronger. We come together during testing days to overcome the obstacles. Every day is a school day. We learn new lessons and have new experiences, but when will these lessons stop being hard and painful? Aren’t there happy experiences in life? I’m bored of all this. I don’t know what to do. What kills me is the silence. I have to keep silent and suppress everything, even in front of my aunt. Just keep silent. Must I find a bottomless pit and scream into it like they do in the movies? Will that give me release? I don’t know. I hate silence, and there will come a time when I will erupt like a volcano, not to destroy but to rectify what’s gone astray.

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