Tag Archives: family


love was the guest of honor
it outshone the burning sun
the light of each soul glowed
the embrace was immense
warm kind giving and sweet

yet my blood family had passed away long ago

how ignorant of me
to think love’s eternal gift
had left me once and for all
the exceptional family i carry love-genes from
the precious one that walks on Earth with mine
the unconditional one friends pour into my soul
have always been there while i mourned

love was the guest of honor
it outshone the burning sun
the light of each soul glowed
the embrace was immense
warm kind giving and sweet

and i began an incredible journey
among my beloved’s family

how could i not

love was the guest of honor
it outshone the burning sun
the light of each soul glowed
the embrace was immense
warm kind giving and sweet
© hülya n. yılmaz, 7.15.2018


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NaPoWriMo Challenge: Day 24


resentment, past and present


thirty-two years

he has been married to her

half a year after her only love – his words

longer united than – but

he has had it with her, he now concludes

nerved, edgy, even offensive

can’t and won’t stay with his son and his wife

few blocks down

the family he financed throughout their lives

wants to be on his own

with me, in the heat of my life struggle

after decades are gone

continents away


too much resentment

if for nothing else…

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Family and Friends: Loyalty and Freedom

Two quotes inspired me for today’s reflections.  They come from two most unlikely sources when my association of their fame against the backlash of my nature is concerned.  But then again, my aim for now is to dwell on negative judgments.

As were he to refer to our glorious time before my mother died – tragically, too early for most of us in the family, Mario Puzo states the following in his final novel: “The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other (The Family).”  As soon as my mother’s death became a reality – one that we all preferred to deny for as long as possible, our family began to fall apart.  In its facade and at its core.  Never again to gain its indivisibility.  My father’s wife did everything to keep the family together – a kind-hearted and understanding person, and tolerant to my father’s outbursts of dissatisfaction with his life after my mom.  My brother’s wife, on the other hand, intensified her initially somewhat suppressed self-serving maneuvers to manipulate any and all happening in the family.  I had not known our family history to include any break up among siblings.  Until my own case happened.  With her elaborate preparations.

Negative judgments: We give them.  We are subjected to them.  And I am no exception.  Within our families, however, we would be best of, if we remained – in Puzo’s words, loyal to one another, hence strong.  My brother chose to accept his wife’s stance on my divorce.  I do and must, of course, involve myself in this fault, blame, judging dynamics but at this point only to the extent to note that I have given her the opportunity to attain material for her conduct:  I had taken an erroneous step.  Though, a grave mistake, the first and the only one since she had joined our family many decades ago.  And, we had known each other from the age of eighteen on.  My one mistake since.  For which my daughter has forgiven me, having accepted me for who I had become during that time – a flawed individual at her worst (so far); nevertheless, she has not doubted the authentic I in me – the one she has known since the first aware moments in her life.

For my brother’s wife, my moment of internal crisis amidst a life-altering event – my divorce proceedings had become a fruitful ground to design, accessorize and materialize a judgment sentence on me.  With her fulfillment of what may have been her intent all along, per my father’s prolonged conviction; namely, to demonstrate my lack of perfection to my brother – as he only perceived it about me.  In order to be the only remaining purity in the family.  In due process, I was stripped of my right to any privacy.  Any attempt I made to preserve my individuality within the family court she had drawn against me, proved in vain.  The re-presentation, or better, misrepresentation of my true self had already taken its successful place: In the judgment of my brother, their two sons and her aunt – all of whom always thought very highly of me, I had failed my entire life.  Several years passed since.  I still don’t believe to have recovered from the irreversible character assassination I thus suffered.

Exceptions aside, the irony is in the extent to which we lend our family members our trust in their non-judgmental acceptance of our lives, befitting but also poor decisions, our actions or the numerous aspects of ourselves.  The immensely painful hit I gave myself through my experience of the serious misstep I have taken at the time was evident throughout my ordeal.  My entire being was shaken at its core.  Yet, I was not once asked by my family members of mention above to let go of my suffering.  Nor was I ever told my life to be mine, with or without mistakes of any degree or nature.

In his article, Columbine: Parents Of a Killer, David Brooks writes about an e-mail the father of one of the shooters sent to him: “[…] the striking thing about his note was that while acknowledging the horrible crime his son had committed, Tom was still fiercely loyal toward him.”  The same sense of loyalty did not come to me from my family.  And, my judgment lapse was nothing to compare to a murder in the slightest.

A friend also heard – from me – my mistaken life step in each and every one of its details.  With my then most private literary reference from Sue Monk Kidd: “A worker bee weighs less than a flower petal, but she can fly with a load heavier than her.  But she only lives four or five weeks.  Sometimes not feeling is the only way you can survive.” – Thinking that I hadn’t been as open as needed be, I also decided to reveal to her my other secret Kidd quote: “Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesn’t know a thing about life (The Secret Life of Bees).”

I was yearning for her understanding of my internal pain, needing to lend her insight into my state of helplessness – in the same manner I had tried to do with the mentioned members of my family.  While only negative judgments came my way from them, my friend made sure that I heard her one message only: This is your life and I want you to be happy with it.  No matter what you did or will do, I love you.  I am your friend and will be on your side regardless of how or why you blame yourself for anything at anytime.  Giving me the courage to talk to our other shared dear friends, she enabled me a self-empowering exit out of my own imprisonment of fault, blame, self-blame, and negative self-judgment.  Not a single one of my friends ever left the seriously weakened me to my vulnerable self in my time of severe despair.  My generous-hearted friend in whom I confided first, thus, gave me a life-size present at a time when I needed it with great desperation: unconditional loyalty.

At this moment in time, I find myself having to try hard to remain the unquestioning believer I used to be whenever the subject came to the unrivaled value of the family construct.  It doesn’t take me even the smallest effort, however, to voice my conviction with regard to the vital importance of friends.  Jim Morrison is quoted to have said the following on the subject:“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”  I am one of those utmost lucky for having experienced and continuing to experience such precious gift of life from all my friends.

May the Thanksigiving holiday surround you with loved ones who stand by you in unconditional loyalty, celebrating your freedom to be yourself as you delight in theirs.


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Autobiographical Fiction, “Huban” – Part 3

Another picture: goodbye Afyon, welcome Sinop!  Goodbye black and white photographs, hello color!  My aunt (my father’s only sister, who could have used some physical features of her oldest brother) still underneath her head and shoulder cover as in the Afyon photograph, was looking up with eyes half-closed.  She was sitting next to my mom who had my newborn brother in her arms.  Several photos later, though, my aunt’s hair was in full sight, her face was a canvas for color-rich make-up and she was clad in a notably fabric-shy dress.  Sinop, however, was a tiny town!  “How come my aunt shed her head-and shoulder cover?” I asked my father the minute I got a chance.

“Well, Huban, the Turkish sea towns have always been different in many aspects.  Afyon is what it is: a place right in the heart of the rugged Anatolian land.  If my family had lived in southern Turkey, or at the Aegean coast, they would have dressed like those in Sinop.  That’s how populations adopted to the different landscapes of our country.  But in all honesty, I must tell you how I always coveted to be like the Sinopians: very comfortable with their way of life and what their women and men wear.  Afyon was never accepting to any variety in clothing for women.  So, when your aunt came to live with us, she didn’t know anything beyond what was there in Afyon to see and to do; she hadn’t seen anything beyond her birthplace.  Unlike me.  I lived and worked in Istanbul.  You know that.  I changed quite a lot after my life in the big city.  Especially, after meeting your mom, long before we were married, during our long waiting period.  Living with your mom changed your aunt also.  She opened up.  By the way, did you know your mom made her that summer dress?”


“She wanted my sister to keep up with the times.”

“I had no idea she could do that!”

“She could and did.  However, she wouldn’t even put it on at first.  Then, a couple of days later she wanted to try it on, only in her room and only to show your mom.  After a while, she wore it all the time!”

“What about your parents, Dad, and your brothers?  Weren’t they mad about how different she began to look?”

“Oh yes, they were all upset to get such pictures of your aunt.  But you see, as the only college graduate in my family, everyone always respected me very much, in what I did and was doing.  In any situation, for that matter.  So, they let your mom and me be; and let your aunt dress and live like the Sinopians.  You know your grandmother and all her female cousins were wearing skimpy bathing suits whenever they went on a boat ride with boys?  Not only your mother but her grandmother before her as well?  And this, not only as children but also as teens and beyond?  The locals have a saying: Sinop is the best place in Turkey for a woman to live in peace and full safety.  I am happy and proud my only sister was also able to learn modernity from us and this town.”

Since the subject had just come to my mom’s sewing skills–one among her numerous other talents-my father said: “In summer, when you have no classes, you should learn how to saw, to knit, to cook and to bake from your mom.  Like your mom.”  A proper upbringing must also mean to have sawing, knitting, cooking and baking abilities, I had concluded back then and wondered what my father’s advice was for my brother.  Didn’t Tamo deserve a proper upbringing?

My brother…With his birth weight of close to ten pounds, his simply beautiful, unwrinkled and white face, cute little nose –almost a duplicate of my mom’s, fully developed body –unlike my premature one, and gorgeously bald head (yes, baldness in babies was a must attraction back then, I was told many times), I was no contest for this darling creature who arrived here three years ahead of me.  At some point in my early years–but only after I had safely grown out of my ugly, hideous, hairy and skinny birth-shell, had my father confessed how my mother first greeted me in an almost muted utterance: “Oh, my unfortunate girl!”

I always concluded her reaction was about the obvious difference between Tamo’s beauty and my intense ugliness.  My father, though, would not say much on this matter.  Every time the subject of my birth came up, he was overcome with sadness for his wife and for his mother-in-law whom he had dearly loved and respected.  I, too, was overcome by sadness: my grandmother–only 48 years old–was at her deathbed with ovarian cancer at the onset of my mom’s pregnancy with me.  There had been too many records of deaths by this type of cancer on my mother’s side.  Still, she could not have ever imagined her own mother as a victim to this disease.  She could not talk with us about those days without stopping in the middle of her first sentence, not being able to collect herself to go on beyond.  She must have been traumatized by severe sadness, fearing her mother’s fate would also be mine–or her own, as it turned out to be.  This morbid sentence had struck her three female cousins around the same age as my grandmother.  I would have to eventually encounter the tremendous loss of my mother–she must have concluded, an ordeal she herself was facing when she was supposed to feel elated for expecting a new life.  In the way she must have felt while she was pregnant with my brother.

Ach, Tamo…

My brother’s favorite pass-time activity was to make fun of me about the type of novels I read (not very different than what I later found out to be our mother’s all-time favorite–pre-dating my birth).  It didn’t matter to him whether my choices were translations of the world classics, or the work of our own classical literary greats.  Sometimes he would almost scold me, announcing my disappointment would be of tragic dimensions if I kept dreaming up life’s realities under the influence of those “ridiculous stories,” as he called them again and again to my face.

I am no longer in contact with my brother and haven’t been for a long while.  If I had been, I would have told him in what striking ways my life events mirrored and continue to mirror those “ridiculous stories” he persistently frowned upon.  Moreover, I would have let him in on one most vital fact about me, one for which his most imaginative moment won’t suffice.  What a surreal extent our mother’s affection for and sorrow over the fate of the protagonist in her most favorite novel did and continue to intertwine with his sister’s–the life of his one and only sibling…

(Only this essay stops here.  As for Huban’s tale, it will continue.)

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