Monday, April 20, 2015
Letters from the heart of Maria…
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I receive a letter from a reader, Maria from Lysi written in the language of the heart – her letter is so touching that I want to share it with you… I write to her to ask for her permission to publish it and she sends me a second letter, even more touching… Today I share with you the two letters from the heart of Maria:
I am writing in the language that I know. But even if I knew yours, again I would write to you in the language of the heart.
I read your column unfailingly every Sunday and even if I throw out the newspaper, I always keep your page as a document for the book you are writing in our hearts, about life. Our life, our island's life, our country's.
I must confess that at the beginning two things seemed strange to me.
The first was the writing of the villages where we were born and lived our years, with foreign letters, "pseudonyms", which I want to believe that were baptised by a godfather, an illegitimate son of the war.
Then I noticed that the previously written Trikomo became Trikomo again, and previously written Lysi became Lysi again. Even if they name me Yasemen, I do not mind. But how can we rename memory to Akdogan?
The other thing was the search inside wells. I believe that anyway, we bend inside wells to see the water, or as my father was also doing, when he returned to his old village, in his old mandra, he threw a stone in his old well, to hear the sound of life. To see, as he said, if there was water.
I believed that we should not be looking inside wells for bones. The souls have been liberated and have flown like butterflies towards the light. Even if no one cried for them. Even if they hid their flight from our eyes.
I believed that we should not be looking for death inside wells. Even though I heard from my father the story of a Turkish Cypriot couple with a baby in their arms who were caught by Greek Cypriots and after they were killed, they were thrown in a well. One of the killers, when he was drinking and his soul was on fire and was burning him, he was yelling "the baby, the baby" as if he was saying "I have sinned, I have sinned".
How did we come to this point, both you and us, our souls laden with so much guilt of centuries, which still burdens even our steps? That we are walking the road of one breath for forty one years and we still have not come to meet each other!
How did we come to this point, both you and us, to find the homes that we were born in destroyed and outside the village piled up in different piles our earth and not to be able to identify them with our lives? Whose life is the one pile and whose is the other.
How did we come to this point, both you and us, to be identifying bones to be able to cry and to light a candle in the memory of the people who became life's fertilizer and who without giving us a message, flew to the light and we stayed in the darkness? Until we receive their bones.
How many lives were lost both in the wells and in the earth of the ruins?
I was saying, reading your column at the beginning, that we need to turn the page in our life. Enough bones in small boxes. I was in a hurry to turn the page, without reading it. To understand that for some people it is necessary. To understand, that by identifying death, we are burying with honour our guilt too. So that we do not burden them to our children. To understand that by identifying death our souls are also resting and being illuminated. They take light from the "missing" souls, who patiently wait to be "erase" one by one from a long list.
If I hastily turned the page, it would have remained unread and I would not learn how can the burial give birth to forgiveness and redemption. Understanding. And it is good what you do, that you give solace and the answer to the heart of all of those that live with a "why". They have the right to learn, to cry, to be redeemed. So that we can smile and shake hands, even from the distance of half an inch on the map.
Lately I read about Esra Aygin's experience in the two countries of one land, which is crossed by a river of now clean waters. She will have definitely imagined, as the song is urging us, our island as a whole. Without the invisible river which is crossing it with still murky waters from tears and blood.
I did not imagine it, I lived it. Here is also my story.
Sunday, at Apostolos Andreas, on his festival day. (I made his celebration, as my heart should have done, to honour his memory and to thank him for saving my son Andreas in an accident that he had, last year on his nameday.)
We finished and on the way back we reached the checkpoint. We passed it. And at some point I hear my husband saying "Here is my cousin's house". And I wondered, surprised "What is he saying? How come? Where am I?" Alzheimer's?
I was under the impression that we had not passed from the checkpoint, when we had already travelled for five minutes away from it.
I was under the impression that we had not changed position in the horizon. My whole soul, serene, was living a reality like a dream. Free from procedures and checks. Because the part of my soul which stayed behind, by not understanding where and when the north ended and where and when the south began, gave me a sign, that it was now coming with me.
I saw our island, as one. As it is. Without a river. With a sky which we do not look at, because our eyes are on the earth.
The house where I first saw the light, is in its place. No one is taking it on his shoulders. It is written in my soul. Even if Mustafa stays there with her permission. It is not burdening me.
The house where I first saw the light is inside my heart. I have my land. And I take it where I go. And it is with me, wherever I am.
I see our country whole, as I feel my heart in one piece. And I love it without wondering "why" or "which one of the two".
Stay well Sevgul.
I salute you from the heart, Maria.`
Thank you for listening to my heart. And if its words, are the same heartbeats in other people's hearts, then I am triply happy, that I am uniting in their rhythm. I feel that all together, we have an enormous heart. A heart which grows and grows and makes the miracle visible.
We deserve peace. We deserve a clean sky to draw on it, with all kinds of colours, bold and clear, our life. To draw well and truly, all those that the stars did not have the time to write.
As Kyriakos from Larnaka also told you "you have made the darkness brighter". We gather around you. All of us who have faced the darkness, were burnt and are sending it away from inside us, now we are small scattered dots that sparkle shyly. All of us united, we can give to our country the sun. We strengthen each other. We get stronger to do good, to create love, to make steps of the soul that bring us closer together.
I wrote the letter for you. With words that are superfluous inside me and are flooding. I came to the day that I opened my heart, I dared to spread it and to touch you like your words touch me every Sunday. Like the words of the people touch me, that confess to you their thoughts, feelings and their stories and I translate their message in my heart, that we are one. I realise that I feel, all that they feel. That they speak my words. This touch, I keep it in my heart and it warms me. You cannot imagine what a blessing is to have this sensation. To feel like you and you like me. And with the letter that you read, it is as if I touched with my heart, through you, the hearts of all of your readers. And I felt their beneficial touch like a push to "do". To act. And not only to feel, to think and to write. I owe it to the memory of Kemal.
Kemal was a Human. The only one who was around and helped my father, to stand on his feet, our first days in Dromolaxia. And every day that he was coming to our home and was sitting to have a coffee with my parents, I was hiding so as not to see him. And he was looking for me and was calling me "Maria! Maria!".
How could he realise that I was in such darkness? How could he see it, that I as closing my heart to his face and he was calling me to open up to him?
Let him hear me now, wherever he may be, that I am calling out to him a big "thank you" and a big "sorry". Because he was the person who held out his hand and supported us. And not even a "Christian" was around to do that…
My name is Maria and I was born in Lysi. I have two sons. Andreas and Efstathios. Efstathios is the one "typing" the letter on the computer and he is the one who answered to your first message (he told me the next day, shortly before we received your second message), while I was telling him "Wait for the day to pass". Youth is impatient.
I think it is time to seize the moment, like the youth, and not wait for the day. Not to "need the time" to get going. To leave my comfortable chair. Not to look at the sky, only through my window. To walk in our island and to come together with people. Like my soul wants it too!
Thank you Sevgul. Always be well.
P.S. You can, if you want, publish the letter. This way others will also feel that we speak the same language.`
Photo: A well in Kontea where a Greek Cypriot woman was buried in 1974…
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 19th of April 2015, Sunday.