A Chair Turned Just So

Yesterday evening I sat down to watch the news after having skipped it for quite a while now. And of course the latest news on almost every TV channel is Syria. What got me though is how innocent people were escaping the country, abandoning their homes and crossing the border to Lebanon, carrying with them a few of their belongings, afraid for their lives and mostly frightened by the US threats.

I switched the TV off. I couldn’t continue. The news took me back three decades ago, to when I had to cross the border that time to Syria and flee the civil war in Lebanon, seeking refuge somewhere else. And even in 2006, again during a short visit to my parents, Israel started bombing Lebanon and I had to cross the same border to Syria with my two teenage kids to join my husband, leaving my extended family and loved ones behind.

Those were difficult days. During every move it would take us some time to familiarize ourselves with the new country we moved to. Start a new life, take in the rules and regulations, form new friends and acquaintances. Make the place our home. A place where you have a special corner, a chair turned just so where the light is right for you to read, or a place at the dinner table, always the same.


But when that chair is left empty because of the loss of your loved one how can you move on? Elizabeth Berg wrote:

“I guess it always hurts to move away from something, even if it’s not another city you’re going to, but another way of being.”

Of all the moves that I have made under dire conditions the hardest is what I am experiencing now, moving away from myself. How can I? I know all losses are painful. Everyone experiences a loss in his/her own way. A person’s dying touches many people in many different ways. I knew my loved one, my husband in a way that no one else did. What we had, what we shared was our own special thing that ended. I don’t think anyone will ever really know the deepness of the void that overshadows the future, my future.

And on days like this I wish everything would slow down as I wish time would just stop for a while. But of course that never happens. And I guess this is home now, here with one chair left empty. To quote Elizabeth Berg:

“But the joke is that you are never home except inside yourself.”


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