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My Syrian Diary: Part 32

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

Sometimes strange things happen, and we cannot prove or explain them. We only know and accept that they happened.

On the first night of Eid, I had a beautiful dream. I saw my father smiling at me. He patted my shoulder and caressed my hair with his warm hand. I felt his warmth flowing in my blood. The strange thing was that when I opened my eyes, I saw him. For a few moments, his face was everywhere I looked.

This has happened to me every first night of Eid since I lost my father. You might think this is just a dream, but I know it is not. I know that his spirit visits me to reassure me that he is with me despite his physical absence. How I miss my father!

After seeing him, I stayed in bed for a little while, and accidentally stuck my hand under my pillow where, to my surprise, I found an Eid present. I was super excited. I woke my siblings up, and they also found presents under their pillows. Our financial situation is very bad and we never imagined that we would get presents this year. Having gifts had always been a family tradition until last Eid. Last Eid was very hard on us. We spent italone, because my mother was trapped in the besieged city of Ghouta.

I always loved Eid presents. When I was little, I believed that angels hid them under my pillow if I had been a good girl. But later on, I realized that it was my mother. She was our angel. The presents were usually something we badly wanted: a watch, a doll or a nice ring, but, of course, our presents this year are very simple. I got mascara that I’d seen in a shop a few days ago and really liked. My two sisters got sunglasses and my brother got some hair gel and a hairbrush. He’s been taking care of how he looks recently, and my mother realizes how much such little things mean to him at his age.

We were extremely happy with our presents. I love this tradition and I will, as a mother one day, do the same thing with my children. We spent most of Eid this year together. It was great family time and the city was relatively quiet.

My siblings and I have grown a lot recently. We’ve experienced things that others don’t experience in a lifetime. The war has made us stronger and taught us that happiness is not given – it is earned. On the first day of Eid, my siblings and I went to a nice café and had some beverages. We had not been to a playground in years, so we decided to visit one. Playgrounds are particularly full during Eid time. We played on swings and slides, like little kids. We had so much fun that we forgot our struggles. The second day, I went with my friends to a beautiful park. We had great conversations and we spent our time laughing and having fun. We tried to spend as little money as possible. My friends are, like me, displaced and their financial situation is not good. Maybe this is why I feel comfortable around them.

On the third day of Eid, my family and I spent the time visiting relatives and neighbors. My uncle lives in a faraway and relatively unstable neighborhood. My mother did not want to go back home late at night, so we spent the night there. We had a blast, because my cousins are the same age as we are. We stayed up all night talking and laughing.

Despite the great time I had this Eid, one thing kept troubling me: my loved ones who are trapped in Ghouta. I could not stop thinking of them and the hard life they are living. I miss that city. Despite all that is happening there and despite the fact that everything we know there is destroyed, I still love and miss Ghouta. I will close my eyes and make a wish: May my family always be safe and be around me. May safety and stability return to my beloved country and to my city. Who knows – maybe dreams will come true this year.

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