A Matter of Life and Death

Image The last day and a half has been very interesting here in Turkey. As I have been waiting very impatiently for my friend’s baby to enter the world, hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been grieving the loss (or the potential loss) of loved ones in Soma, Manisa. Soma is a mining town, and there was a major explosion in one of the mines there yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of miners were trapped. Many escaped, but so many remained inside and still have yet to emerge. The situation is very grim, and authorities have said that by now, anyone who is still down there will not emerge alive. 

I don’t know why, but this tragedy is affecting me very deeply. Of course, it’s tragic and if a person doesn’t feel some sort of sympathy for the victims, they are heartless individuals. But it has brought me to tears several times today, and I feel sick if I read or hear anything about it in the news. 

So…why am I writing about it? I don’t know, really. Maybe for catharsis? I have been thinking about life and death a lot lately. Perhaps I have been thinking about it because I know a new chapter of my life is about to start, and it’s a really, really big deal. Marriage has always been something I’ve talked about as happening “one day” in the distant future, but now, I know exactly which day it will happen. It’s a major change in my life, and I guess my morbid brain realized that as I mark more milestones, it’s like I’m losing my invincibility and I’m becoming more aware of my mortality. 

The other thing is in recent months, my heart has been doing this weird thing where it has started to love another human being more than it loves myself (that sentence structure was awkward, but I hope you get what I mean). I’m sure it’s just a glimpse of what it’s like to love with a mother’s heart. I care, but I do not worry about my own safety or well-being. However, I find myself getting choked up and teary-eyed when I learn of anyone, even fictional characters, losing a loved one, because I immediately imagine how I would feel if I lost Canim. I should perish the thought, really, but it’s hard sometimes. I sometimes have random thoughts of all the possible dangers that are lurking near him, and I have to force myself to think of other things or else I will become a basket case. 

I know, it’s kind of stupid. He’s perfectly fine, perfectly healthy, and I have nothing to worry about. When I see pictures of the family members waiting outside of the mine, hoping against hope that their men will come out alive, it devastates me. They’re enduring the very thing that I’m too afraid to even imagine for more than a few nervous seconds. They are in my prayers, because it will take an act of God to comfort all of those people in the midst of this tragedy. 

At the height of my emotional reaction to the mine explosion, I learned that my dear friends in Antalya (American) welcomed their first baby into the world this afternoon. If she had taken any longer to arrive, I would have suggested that they name her Glacier (Buzul in Turkish), because homegirl was taking her sweet time to be born. Fortunately for her, she arrived in time to receive the original name her parents had picked for her, and it is a beautiful name. 

ImageAnd this is how it goes, right? We go about life, doing mundane day-to-day tasks, until suddenly, our lives change radically, for better or for worse. We have, we lose, we grieve, but life goes on, and we have to go on too, because eventually we will have again, and those moments of “having” really ought to be cherished to the fullest.

God, I wish I could hug my loved ones tonight and let them know how much they mean to me. 

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