I felt it would be hard for me to write at home with my feelings so intense. They were old but pricked my heart like a hook. I buried them so deep it was hard to take them out for a look. I needed some fresh air, so I left my house and hailed a taxi. “To Çengelköy,” I said to the taxi driver. He was only taking me for a short drive to the sea, but I felt as if I were traveling for years.
I remembered the phone call with my editor, Sonsuz. I promised him I’d write the second part of my article “First Shock” published in the second issue of The Wise. In fact, I was going to do this for myself; I had to. I had to face up to my feelings which I had buried so deep and now had to say goodbye to them. I could only get rid of my emotional burdens by writing them down; however, on the other hand, I was afraid of writing. Keeping my writings to myself was not a problem, but when thousands of people read your writings, especially your most inner emotions you want to hide from everyone, it felt like being naked in front of lots of men in a stadium. I was a professional model before and walked on the catwalk many times in a cool manner, but I never felt that naked.
How could I tell people about the revolt I felt? How could I reveal I asked God “Why!” for many years? How could I mention I lost my faith in life and fate? How could I expose that I lost faith in my guardian angels? It was my mother who had always told me “If you obey your mother, you will be a pretty girl.” And, it was me who chose my husband and everything in my life according to her wishes. So I was a very pretty girl! And God loved me in return. So why did everything in my life crack? Why did my colorful dreams about the future disappear like soap bubbles? My son died and my family blamed me for his death. I was all alone. How could I share this suffering too heavy for me to carry; to whom could I tell all of this?
Nevertheless, I am trying to explain my emotions first for myself, and then for the others who experienced a similar thing and could not express their feelings. After my article “First Shock,” I received lots of mail from the “Mothers of Angels.” They were telling the same stories: “I lost my son/daughter. Your article touched the incurable pains of my heart; I felt I was not alone.” Later, I met these people, and we shared our sorrows and healed each other.
OK, you are starting now, Filiz…Get ready!
After the “First Shock”
After they called me and said, “Your son is in the intensive care unit; he is very ill. Come back to Istanbul as soon as possible.” On the way to airport I called all the doctors I knew and asked them to get in touch with the hospital if they could give me any help. At the same time, I was trying to endure my pain. I called my mother crying: “Mom, Kaan Mert is hospitalized; they do not know what is wrong with him. What can we do? Can we find any doctor who can help?” I added, “My son is strong. He will recover from this situation, but we have to find the right expert for the right treatment.” Until the plane landed at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, I was as cold as ice.
One day before a religious festival, I left my son with my in-laws and set off to Antalya with my husband in an effort to save our marriage. At the same time, my parents were on the way to their cottage in Ayvalık. Just before their arrival home, they received a phone call and learned the bad news. My mother did not tell me the news when they heard my anxious voice on the phone, but she only told me they will return to Istanbul to be with me. I relaxed because my mother would be with me.
We left the plane and then learned all the bad news. We had said our goodbyes to our year-and-a-half-old son that morning; then negligently, he was drowned in the sea at 5:00 p.m. that same day.
Everything around me sighed…I felt nearly paralyzed…I couldn’t think…I couldn’t react to anything…I didn’t know if I was angry or sad. It was just like a dream. I was just a creature with ears and eyes but no feeling. It was as if I was hanging in air and looking around foolishly. Noise was all I heard. I did not answer any questions. I could not…What if I could? He was gone! I was like a dead person—seeing and hearing everything but could not intervene. It was like an irreversible coma. With the shock of hearing this awful news, I did not know what to do or what to say; all of my cells were dead. Suddenly, my whole body and mind wanted to scream, “I want my mom!”
The first thing I wanted to do was to call my parents, cry and share my pain. I needed them so much. I wanted my mother to be with me at that moment. I called them but could not reach them. My God! This was just a nightmare. After a ten-hour trip without having any sleep, they took another ten-hour trip again. Did they have an accident? Are they dead too? Is it a nightmare, oh God? I hope it is a dream, and I will wake up. Please God I beg you, don’t let them die! I called them again, but I still cannot reach them. I wanted to talk to my mother, my God! I wanted to hear her voice, tell her what happened, and I wanted to burst into tears even on the phone.
The intensity in my cells transformed into a swirl of fear. A swirl full of fear and worry…A swirl caving in on the middle of my ribs. I felt a tunnel of ice in the middle of my chest, and it got stuck there. The hours passed, and the ice began to melt and fill the tunnel with cold winds. A tunnel from my chest to my back, a gaping hole with cold winds blowing in it…
And I Met My Mother
I called my parents throughout the night until morning without closing my eyes even for a second. I needed to hear them say “My daughter, honey. We are coming; we will be by your side.” Just before dawn my eyes were still bloodshot due to the sedative. As soon as I opened my eyes, I realized this was not a nightmare, yet more real than death itself. I called my parents again, but no answer; the phone was turned off. I was really going mad. If this was a nightmare, I wanted to wake up. If this was a game, I wanted it to end. And if this was real, I wanted to disappear from this world.
The funeral was in the afternoon. We went home before it, but I did not have the courage to go inside. How could I go into his room and see his things? Now afterwards, I suddenly wanted to smell the scent of his clothes. I took in all the smells of his little body; I actually felt the soap and milk. My husband anxiously stared at me, and all of a sudden I shouted, “Let’s give them to someone; I don’t want to keep them at home. I cannot bear seeing them, and perhaps someone can use all these things.” I picked up only a pair of socks and a plastic hammer—his favorite toy—and left the room.
Then we went to my in-law’s house. People were gathering; the house was getting crowded. When I had just entered the room, the doorbell rang. My parents came. Oh my God, they were alive! I was hiding in a room, so I could get away from people and their foolish consolatory words. As soon as I heard my mother’s voice, I left the room. The men were in the living room and the women in the kitchen and other rooms. My mother was also in the kitchen. I ran towards her and hugged her. I just wanted to feel her warm hug. I hugged her like a child who fell down and injured a knee. I hugged her with a sorrowful heart. And at the same time, I was continuously talking and crying, “Mom, where were you? I called you all night. I thought you were also dead. I am very afraid, Mommy! Kaan Mert has gone…Mommy, what shall I do now?”
Suddenly, I realized that she did not hug me back. She withdrew from me and pushed me away with her two hands. I just stood in the middle of the kitchen when she started to shout at me, “I told you many times that you should not entrust your son to that woman. I do not even entrust a cat to her, but you left your son with her. You are guilty of all of it. You tried to keep your husband, but forgot your son. Now you have that sorrow. I told you before!” These words were too heavy for me; I felt as if someone was beating me. My heart felt cut to pieces with a knife. This was a cold but sharp knife which burned my heart and made me bleed.
I did not know what to do. I just stood there—still. I thought she would care about me and utter some nice words, hug me with the warmth of a mother. She was a life vest for me in this crowd. I needed her and her warm hugs. I needed her to comfort me and to let me cry on her shoulder, which she never did before. But she pushed me away, blamed me and uttered words like poison. I felt left in the middle of a frozen desert without knowing where to go. I was wounded and left alone. My mother was a like a mirage or a slayer who tried to pierce my wounds. I was shocked. Nothing else!
She did not stop. I heard her angry voice reaching me: “We heard the news while we were on the road, but we did not tell you anything.” My God, this must have been a nightmare! They did not tell me the truth. They did not try to soothe me, and they did not let me share my sorrow with them. They even turned off their cell phones. This was pure selfishness!
My mother, still shouting, and her words hitting me like a knife each time: “And you ask me where the hell we were! Your father has been crying since we heard the news! He is so sad! Everything is your fault! We did not want to speak to anyone. We were ashamed! No one died in our family due to neglect! It is your fault! You married this man and his family is ignorant. Your fault!” All of a sudden, all the women in the kitchen and my mother began to turn around and disappear. I faltered. I do not know if the others felt that way or not, but I did not fall down. I just stood there still without caring about her words. My God, was it real or a dream? Is it possible to have so many nightmares consecutively?
I could not hug my father or even say anything to him because my mother told me “Your father is so sad. Don’t disturb him. Don’t make him more upset.” I was left all alone. What kind of a nightmare was that?
My son was dead, and now, I did not care if I were dead or alive. I was also left alone by all my loved ones. This was just cruel torture.
I was touching my old wounds, remembering these past days, and suddenly, I heard the taxi driver’s voice: “We are in Çengelköy.” I paid him and got out of the taxi.
The first lines of this article appeared in the heart of my brain. But first I needed some fresh air…I began walking towards the sea…