Monday, September 21, 2015

My Independence

Photo credit: Suren Manvelyan

July, 2001

It is a brilliantly sunny day. There are several cars making their way to the airport. My family is divided up among those cars. When we arrive at the terminal, we unload the suitcases, make our way to the check-in counter and thus begin a journey that has been traumatic yet exceptional, uncertain, but life-changing.

At the airport, about 40 members of our immediate and extended family and friends have formed a semicircle. We each take our turn saying our goodbyes. The hardest moment is having to leave my parents behind. My mother seems to be crumbling beneath the pain of knowing that she will be separated from her daughter, her grandchildren...her eyes full of tears she hangs on to me like she never wants to let me go.

And then it's my father's turn. A few weeks earlier, I had asked my mom why dad was so distraught….was this not his dream for me? Was he not happy that I was fulfilling my dream? She says, ‘You are the low-lying branch in a raging river that he has needed for so long…’

Afterward, the four of us walk toward the boarding area. We take one last look at our lives and make our way toward the boarding area.

We didn’t come to Armenia to change anything. We didn’t come to save anyone. We didn’t come with a noble mission. And we certainly didn’t come to prove anything to anyone nor do we think we are ‘better’ Armenians than anyone else.

We came because we could. That has been the gift of independence. 

My independence...

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