Uncle Jaber didn’t want to leave his lovely country of Syria; he had spent the best days of his life there.
I met him in Jordan and asked him why he came, he responded:
“I used to live a decent life in my home, I was retired and I had a monthly salary that fulfilled all my needs, thanks to God.”
“But unexpected things happen to people. One day fighting took place in my neighborhood and it escalated day after day.”
“I was living through that and was fine with it until the moment came when I was in the kitchen and heard a loud commotion outside. When I went to my bedroom I found bullet on my bed and chair. They had gone through the wall. At that moment, my mind wasn’t able to take it anymore and I decided to travel to my relatives here in Jordan.”
I asked him:
“Are you happy here in Jordan?”
“How can I be happy when I have lost my value…I am a man in my seventies…and instead of sitting with dignity in my house with my friends around me…I am here, humiliated and my distant relatives are the ones taking care of me. Even they are fed up with me now and they make me feel like a burden to them. Hence, you see me get up in the morning, wear my clothes and leave the house aimlessly, sometimes to the market and others to the streets, with no specific destination. This has been my situation for a year now and nothing has changed…I am waiting for only one thing now; death, a long-awaited friend…”
Uncle Jaber couldn’t stop himself from crying, but his pride kept him from continuing, so he got up and left.
Months had passed, but he crossed my memory again as I was passing by his relative’s house, so I asked them about him…what was their answer? He had travelled back to Syria… he wasn’t able to stay here any longer with this humiliation…his heart couldn’t take the sorrow anymore…away from family and home…humiliated and poor, waiting for death.
His relatives in Jordan tried to stop him and warn him of the unknown that lay ahead…to which he answered:
“There is not much time left for me in this life and up until now I don’t know why I came to Jordan. What was I thinking!? But I have decided…I am going back and nothing else. It is either a decent life or a dignifying death at my home surrounded by my family and neighbors!” and he left…
To be honest, I don’t know why I felt sad for him; I used to always see him in front of the door with a small chair where he sat with absent eyes. I miss him and his greetings to people on the street, inviting them to have tea. To be honest, I envy him for his strength in his decision. He’s like a strong tree that the wind cannot bend, but the strong wind will break it, so it wilts and dies. Yet its memory remains for people to share and cherish.