THE LONG JOURNEY
Life is a long, long journey of survival and yet, when it comes to the last quarter of it, like I am right now, I feel it is so short, it seems extremely short and vainly I expect extension that is given to no one, no matter how pius or atheist you might be, no matter how many billions you have stashed away in your life or indeed as the majority of us feel , how poor you might be and indeed destitute and with absolutely nothing to yourself might be. The wise saying of the old gentleman in Athens back in 1990 is part of the permanent bank of memories I have; on asking him how life seemed to him at his age of 79, his response was
” LIKE A LIGHTNENING MY SON”.
I was young, full of energy and plans for life and family, I never thought of that seriously or perhaps it was at the back of my subconscious all the time.
The journey of life has its moments of happiness but also its long struggles with unhappy events and tests to survive and continue the uphill struggle of life. It is these struggles that stand out most, that mark our lives for ever and mould us into what we really are from a very young age, even though we never remember them, never feel we experienced them at the time because we were so young and so dependent on our parents, on our siblings on our relatives or indeed on other humans and environment of living.
Born on a poor island in the late 1940S was no tragedy but also there was no promise of a bright future in a very poor village, as the island was generally poor with very few spots of affluence among the elite of the cities, as it is normally the case everywhere. How do I know and how did I survive these tests of life I cannot remember that far but I was a survivor of these tests of life very early in my life and as a baby. Yes, I survived cancer, thanks to my mother and father who took me to a smart doctor who knew what to do with me immediately. Cut and survive he told my mother and that was it. I survived the first test of life, which many other babies in our world have no such luck.
No memories of it but I know because my mother told me how I got that small scar on my throat that became bigger with age. Yes, she cried as I did too but here I am sending her my thanks once again wherever she might be. Yes, it is our parents we turn to for comfort, yes it is to the holy places and holy people we turn for comfort, help and salvation, as I do now. I am aware of what many people wonder: why didn’t our saints help us in our hour of need and when everything was taken away from us when the invaders arrived? Well, if there is a power that guides and governs our lives, that is the decision taken, which we unfortunately cannot influence at the moment of the events. Those memories I have vivid and strong in the memory bank and those I intend to scribe here for humanity to know, humanity to learn and hopefully avoid elsewhere, if that is ever humanly possible.
FIRST MEMORIES AT THE AGE OF FOUR-FIVE
Which memories are engraved in you mind? Which events are there vivid and alive and see them daily or bring them forward at will? Yes, mostly the traumatic ones that shape your life and your future. The traumatic ones that perhaps have turn your life upside down or indeed shaped your life for ever since then. Such events are many for all of us I am sure but in my case they started early with myself being a young kid who felt that all, everything was normal and great.
Yes, losing my parents was traumatic but expected, thus the pain was spread over time and expectation of the events. Losing home unexpectedly, the lands that gave you life and your holy places that shaped you and formed your character was a harsh blow that I have never got rid of yet and I assume will never manage to. I guess that is the life of a refugee!!
Peter Constant, remains a refugee