here’s what happened

When one becomes a blogger, we often write personal things that others would not share.  In my case, I crossed over from getting my emotions out via keeping a journal and writing poems, to putting myself out there publicly.  Lately, I have written posts that have caused concern to many.  I was still withholding many details, so it left them (you) wondering what the heck is going on!  After much consideration, I have decided to share some of the details of this past year with you.

Earlier this year, I started a full-time job working in a law office.  Getting a work permit in Turkey is very difficult, unless you are a teaching English.  I was initially denied a work permit under the law which says a foreign lawyer cannot practice law in Turkey.  I was not practicing law but rather working in business development.  Long story short (the long story being full of way too much annoying drama), we appealed and I got the permit.

Unbelievably busy at work for many months.  I liked that.

By October, it was time to go back home for a visit. I attended a family wedding, and the funeral of a young neighbor who died of breast cancer.  I spent most of the time visiting her family and taking my sister to visit doctors.  She had been fighting cancer for over 3 years. It became clear during this visit that she was losing the battle . . . and quickly.  I said my goodbyes and returned to Ankara.

Less than a week later, on October 25th, my niece lost her 22-year-old son suddenly.  I could not return for the funeral.  So I mourned alone in Ankara.

I soon learned that my sister’s impending end was only clear to me. Within the week of my nephew’s death, my sister, back in the hospital, skyped me.  She was given 2 weeks to 2 months to live.  She wanted to know when my husband and I were coming home.  She wanted to say goodbye.

I was fearful of speaking to my boss about it.  I asked for 5 days or so to go say goodbye.  Of course, we knew I would also need a few days when the time came for a funeral.  My boss overwhelmed me.  She insisted I go and stay for as long as I needed.  They would make do.  My job was safe. She wanted that I have no regrets.

So we took off.  My hubby stayed for five days.  I watched as my sister said the longest, sweetest, and most loving goodbye ever to my husband.

She decided to do home hospice care.  Nurses, aides, and caseworkers came to her home regularly.  But my niece, my brother-in-law, and I took on the job of being her main caretakers with some help from my siblings and friends of the family.

This was a very difficult job for many.  But there was something about it that I truly enjoyed.  My job consisted of creating weekly care schedules; took notes when the nurses and aides came; tracked what needed to be ordered; did some shopping; prepared what little food she would try to eat; made sure she always had ice and water (and beer in the refrigerator); cleaned her open wound where the peg was inserted into her stomach; checked her tube where the medicine went into her chest; emptied her bags of urine and bile coming from the stomach; helped to bathe her; massaged her back with ice water; cleaned the room; washed the sheets and night gowns; watched movies with her; read to her; talked with her and listened as she told me of her nightmares.

A month passed and I was feeling antsy.  I had been following emails and I knew they were busy at the office.  Although my boss had insisted I stay, I went back to Ankara for fear of losing my job.

On December 11th, my sister passed.

I had to speak with my boss again.  She very kindly told me to go.  It was a whirlwind trip, 5 days.  I planned a family party in her honor.  I created a big collage of photos of her life.  I attended her memorial service and spoke there. And then I left.

My boss then insisted that I take the rest of the year off.  But I didn’t.  I went back in search of a feeling of normalcy.  At the office, they insisted I use my last two vacation days.  Weird, right?  I forced myself to get through Christmas at home when I had hoped to be surrounded by friends at the office.

I finally broke down on New Year’s Eve and mourned.

I was getting through New Year’s Day, actually about to get to bed, when I got a call.  My brother’s home burned down in the middle of the afternoon.  He and his wife, their daughter and granddaughter escaped uninjured.  Well, physically anyway.  Almost the entire army of my siblings were by his side supporting him as he washed his life dwindle down to ashes.  I remained in Ankara.  I cried and cried.

Bad luck comes in threes.  I was done.  Off I went back to work.

Somewhere at the end of the year I had learned that annual reviews were being done.  I did not have one and became worried.  But when I got a note telling me I would be given a pay raise for the new year I was relieved.  Perhaps the boss was just giving me space?

Last week, things were really getting odd.  No one was giving me new assignments. I still had plenty of work to do, but it was a little eerie.  Everyone at the office was ill, and finally it hit me too.  I missed two days of work, spending 3 days in bed fighting a stomach virus.  I heard an interesting story from the office of “what might really be wrong with me.”  That one was so crazy I can’t even share it.

So, Monday, I go back to work early, starting fresh.  Truly appreciative of what time had been given to me, and plunged into my work.  Then I got “the talk.”  I was let go, effective immediately.  There was no real reason given as to why.  I was clearly told it was not because of my leave of absence.  “It  just wasn’t working out.”

Well, that’s where this part of the story ends.  If I go on, I will only be making your stomachs turn and prejudice you.  Turkey is just one odd place to work.

I’m fine.  I will find something to do.  I will enjoy life again.  It will just take a little time.  Don’t worry about me.  I’m not a jumper.  We need grey skies to enjoy the blues the skies.  I know that.  Doors will open again.  Thanks for all of your love and support.

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19 thoughts on “here’s what happened

  1. Dear Terry, so very sorry to hear your loss, that’s never easy.. Sending you big hugs over the pond; take care, there is always sunshine after rain. So glad you shared; best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014, cok selam ve sevgiler, Ozlem xx

  2. Oh wow, you deserve several glasses of wine to get over all that awfulness! So sorry to hear about all the Turkish drama following your personal heartaches as well. 2014 has to be better!

  3. In sharing your sorrows, I say, Oh I better not write what I want to. Peace and prosperity to you. I am sorry your company lost such a great opportunity as you offered them. As we say, their loss, your gain.

  4. Sad, sad, sad, and I really am sorry for your pain as you have clearly had a dreadful time, but as you wrote their were patches of humanity at its best and just a little joy (time with sister)

    Not sure the way your employer treated you has much to do with Turkey, it seems to me in today’s neoliberal world such . . . treatment from employers is par for the cause.
    As someone has already said, its their loss.

      • Oh you naughty girl, only kidding, of course I understand. I’m not sure the type of personal tragedies you have experienced make us stronger as someone suggested, especially if we have suffered loss, but if we are lucky they do make us understand the human condition better and see just how fragile our own and our loved ones lives can be.

        These things are like old age, they creep up on us, and we may not see them coming. When they do hit us, often with one hell of a bang, we struggle to make sense of it all. How we handle such situations is the measure of us, and from what you have told us you have not fallen short, and hopefully in time you will get a modicum of satisfaction from this and your memories of this period will be less traumatic.

        Best wishes

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