The act of forgetting is the scariest thing to see and experience. I'm scared to forget my childhood and moments that I want to enjoy and relive all over again. I’m scared to forget such incredible and emotional stories that my parents chose to tell me about their past. I'm scared that I will forget to mention every beautiful thing about our Kurdish history to my children. I’m scared that I wont remember because what with forgetting comes the lack of stories, memories, and history that can be passed down from generation to generation. Every chance I get, I am constantly asking questions about certain gaps that I have created in my head about my parents story and their journey to this very moment. I ask question after question hoping that my brain can accumulate all this information and allow it to stay there in enough time for me to share these stories to my kids. For my parents, I do not want their stories to be lost in a world of materialistic things. For my parents, I do not want their stories to disappear or never be shared because it was seen as unimportant. This is why I am here today.
I want to know every story, every tale; everyday that my parents lived, cried, escaped and celebrated to reach this moment. I want to know every part of history, every song, and every poem that was created in love of my country. I want to know every singer, every artist, and every leader that had Kurdistan in their hearts to the moment they took their first breath. My fear of forgetting is shared with my passion for my country and stories that millions of Kurds share on how they escaped genocide and war. My fear of forgetting is shared with my emotional attachment to my parents and the life that will soon come to an end for all of us. I fear that I haven't asked enough questions to get all the stories that I can. I fear that my brain will forget about these stories 10 years, 20 years or 30 years from now. I fear that I will be like my mother who has sadness in her eyes and anger in her voice because every question that her daughter seems to ask her is answered with "I can't remember" or "I don't know, stop asking". My strategy to ask question after question only seems to hurt my mother who has forgotten stories about her past, information about her mother, and moments that have subconsciously been avoided due to trauma. Through talking to my mother I've learned to try and avoid such topics. My mother who has lost her own mother can't remember certain things about her. This I've learned to avoid in fear of seeing tears in her eyes due to the realization that what is forgotten is never coming back and what is dead is never returning.
My fear of forgetting and seeing someone I love forget is also interconnected with the fear of time. I fear my time does not have enough seconds, minutes and hours to remember these stories that I wait so eagerly to be shared or answered. My time restricts me from spending those seconds, minutes and hours with family who currently live in Kurdistan away from the questions that I am constantly asking . Every second, minute and hour that passes, I fear that questions I want to ask my grandpa are coming to a close. Every second, minute and hour that passes I fear that my mother will avoid every question that I ask because now she has forgotten her whole life. With the last seconds, minutes, and hours that pass I fear that my father will have his last moment of forgetting to be of me and his children.
So I sit here still in fear of the forgotten, fearing the stories that will stay untold, and the moments that will forever be lost. I sit here writing about my fears hoping that it will spark a small moment in time that I just now remembered, or a story that I was told that my brain kept silent. As I am who I am today, I will forever fear the forgotten and the moment of forgetting. I write to tackle such fears, I write as much as I can with every moment that I experience. I write to never be able to forget, to have stories where not only my family can read and remember, but my children can look back on and understand. Understand my story and how my story is my parents story that is all connected as one.
And so I try and remember those stories that were told to me in the car at 10 pm when my father would drive to my University just to pick me up to go home. I try and remember the stories that were told to me on our countless drives to visit my sister and her husbands house. I try and remember the stories that were told to me in the moments of driving to the village with my parents on those unforgettable trips to Kurdistan with the mountains surrounding us. I will never stop trying to remember, and never stop asking questions and hearing stories because I need these stories to write. I need these stories to share, I want to remember these stories not just for me, but for those who think their stories are better left untold.
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