I have breathed in and out deeply ten times to start this blog post. I can’t seem to be able to bring myself together to write a few sentences. You know that feeling where you feel like a very heavy tear is stuck in your throat? Well, that’s me right now. With a headache, my heart in pain and eyes full of tears I am telling you all Mam Khalil, who was at the nursing home, alongside two others passed away… (you can look back on the blog, I have written about Mam Khalil a few times)
(Right): He got married at the elderly people’s home, then lost his sight there and in the end his life… (Left): He spent his nights writing and drawing…
Unfortunately, I don’t visit the nursing home as much as I wish I could. Maybe it’s because of the feelings I get for days later, maybe it’s the thoughts, maybe the frustration that I can’t always implement what is on my mind… or maybe life takes me away with all its other commands. But I know for sure, many of the people in that home have inspired me in so many ways. I love seeing them smile, and their child-like tears are very dear to me.
My first visit to an elderly home in Erbil was around 2008/9 – some of the same faces are still there today, like Pura Gulizard. She even got married before I did. Others are there one day and a week later when you visit again you can’t find them. When you ask they say “He died.”
After I gave birth it was my friend Saza (please don’t tell me you don’t know her, I will get mad!! Very mad!) who insisted I join her to visit the elderly home. I hadn’t gone for a while. I recall leaving my 25-day-old son with my dad. I remember it well, because I returned with so many drawings that I spread out on our table later that evening.
During the visit I saw a man sitting on a wheel chair, looking out, with lots of papers wrapped nearly with an elastic band, they rested under his arms. I couldn’t help open a conversation. It was clear he didn’t believe there was someone who just wanted to listen to him talk. The talks lasted hours. He spoke, sang, laughed and cried. He called us his daughters… and we referred to him as Mam (uncle). I can safely say we were good friends.
Saza is the type of friend who always thinks of ways to help people. Knowing Mam Khalil’s hobby was art and writing (he even drew in pens that barely had any ink left in them), the idea of selling Mam Khalil’s art pieces came about. He would give us all his writings and drawings, every time we visited. We told him we will give it to others, and in return with the money we managed to buy him art supplies so he continued his hobby.
Saza realized it was his way of escaping the circumstances he was in. During late night hours, till dawn (when there was electricity) Mam Khalil would write and draw… then patiently wait for anyone to visit so he can pass on his passion…
I feel content thinking there are people now who have his illustrations at home. He didn’t leave this world with nothing. No. He left as an artist and a poet, who has work in the houses of many young Kurds. This thought makes me feel calmer, happier and a little better… We did our part.
But I miss him. I will miss him. After Gulizard he was the next person I would look for in every visit.
Many of the individuals in the elderly home never rested in this life. I wish they rest in peace in the next life. Unfortunately they are confronted with many challenges every second of everyday….
As for the other life lost, I will leave that one for another blog post. Because his story is one that needs many chapters…
Lots of love to My Nest in Kurdistan,