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My Syrian Diary: A Reunion with My Mom

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. 2 minutes

At the end of a dark night, dawn broke and life came back to me. That was the moment my mother arrived to see us. She finally made it. I won’t even try to express how I felt, because there are no words to describe the feeling. What’s important is that my wish had come true: my family was together…after I had almost given up on ever seeing her again. My sisters and I struggled and suffered after we realized how important my mother was to us. We realized the importance of having her around, and how much she had taken on for us.

I can’t deny that her absence had been an exercise in character building and in developing the ability to make our own decisions…but we can never forget all the setbacks we faced because we felt lost and unanchored. We were all nervous wrecks, but all that is ok now because she’s returned to us.

We stayed at my aunt’s for two days before we started looking for our own place. We found the clinic of an expat doctor that’s close to my sister’s school where she is preparing for her government exams. She often is late to return home and the rent, though high, was still cheaper than other places we looked at. We immediately moved in, happy that we were together, while ignoring the fact that it’s winter and that the clinic is completely devoid of any furniture. My mother bought two blankets: one was laid out on the floor and the other one we used to stay warm.

We started tugging at the blanket, each one trying to hog the covers in an attempt to keep warm. We were laughing, almost crying even and I don’t even know why. Perhaps it was happiness, or perhaps it was us trying to conceal our true feelings. Our first night back with our mother was special. The warmth we had for one another overpowered the scathing cold that filled our little room. I held my mother’s hand and went to bed. We woke up with beaming smiles on our faces but with bellyaches brought about by the cold.

Our happiness did not last for long. A week later, we found ourselves faced with a harsh reality. My mother wasn’t able to pay the rent and the bills and provide for us, because she is now unemployed. The school in the city doesn’t have open positions. How will our poor mother cope with everything? I thought long and hard about it, but I can’t leave my studies, as I need to finish and apply what I’ve learned. I am unable to work and go to school at the same time. I’m truly scared for us, despite my mother’s optimism. I know how worried she is, and she is often distracted. I don’t know how our lives will turn out to be in the capital. It’s not as easy as we thought it would be and is a lifetime away from anything I experienced in my hometown. Here, everyone is busy looking after their own interests and no one cares about anyone but themselves.

Life is truly strange. Every day you encounter something new, and problems always seem to pop up. Fate made us leave our hometown and our big house to live in this small, simple room. I don’t know what to say…what the meaning behind it is. But I often wonder what right, what law, by whose order and until when will our right to live with dignity be ignored?

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