PICTURE HIS FRIENDS ATTACHED TO THEIR COLLAR AT THE FUNERAL
ORBITIUARY ,NOVEMBER 4, 2006
HIS LAST PICTURE TAKEN BY CENAN, OCTOBER 2006
OUR FATHER’S FUNERAL
It is not customary nor easy to write about your parents funeral. I am writing this only with one purpose in mind: to leave something for my children and grandchildren and future generations of our family. Since we live in the United States I am writing this article in English so they will be able to read this in the future. Some sentences in the article are occasionally too detailed because I want them to know about our traditions.
“Cem, I just came back from Istanbul.Our father is not doing well, he can walk only if he is held on both hands and slowly,with baby steps,go about 10 meters, no more..He can’t sit up from laying position unless someone helps.........”
Cenan’s letter was dated October , 20, 2006.
A few days following Cenan’s letter, my father got real sick. My mother called Ertugrul, our uncles youngest son. Together they took him to the Memorial Hospital in the European side of Istanbul. Mustafa was the first one to fly over to Istanbul. He was in the intensive care with several other patients in the same room. Mustafa told me that when he first saw him and asked him how he was doing, he replied in a very low tone of voice: “hamdolsun” . (can’t complain, thank God). I was next to board the overseas flight and Cenan was to follow. When Mustafa took me to his room and asked him if he recognized me, he opened his eyes one last time and starred at me. I think he knew that his oldest son had come to see him. He never opened his eyes during his last few days. During these days we had to change hospitals. We took him with an ambulance to Medicana across the Bosporus.
It was a week after had I arrived in Istanbul when one night I woke up towards the morning with a strange dream. A dream one never forgets. My dad was a small men, maybe 5’ 4’’. In my dream all of a sudden he got transparent, got smaller and smaller and finally the bubble dried out. About two hours later the telephone rang, it was 8:45 A.M. They were calling us to the hospital, “his situation had deteriorated “ .
We rushed to the Hospital : the Medicana in Umraniye. Mustafa and I went up the stairs to the intensive care floor.We saw the nurse at the door, she declined to say anything about our father’s situation and asked us to wait for the Doctor. Soon Dr. Jale came. She was Mustafa’s class mate from High School. She informed us that our Father had passed away. His heart had stopped at 8:10, they tried to revive him and at 8:30 it was official: “we lost him”.
Mustafa and I went to different corners in the lobby. After sucking in the news and recuperating we called mom, and told her the news. She was with Gül, the house maid. We went down to the cafeteria had some tea with Dr. Jale and discussed what to do next. Then we went to the administrative office of the Hospital. The girl at the desk, took my fathers birth certificate from us and told another girl to write his death certificate since “ Hamza bey x oldu.” (Mr. Hamza became an X now). It was Friday November 3, 2006. Mustafa went home to be with my mother, I went down to the basement of the hospital to the morgue to identify my father. They pulled the drawer, it was his body, I said “ Babacim”. Body was his, but he wasn’t there anymore. I was numb.
Few minutes later, I helped two hospital workers to carry his casket to the to a green funeral vehicle and drove to the funeral house in the Karacaahmet Cemetrey. He was there to stay untill Sunday.
It was Sunday morning, November 5, 2006. Cenan had come a day before. All three brothers and cousins gathered in Karacaahmet. We did our duties according to Muslim traditions: Mustafa and I helped cemetery workers to wash his body . They put him in the white cloth and then into the simple wooden casket. The casket was then mantled with the the Turkish Flag, since he was going to be buried with military honors. We helped the casket to the green funeral vehicle.
The funeral ceremony took place at the Selimiye Mosque only half a mile away from the cemetery. Selimiye district was where my father lived and went to school during his middle school years.
It was a very cold but sunny November day. All of his friends, neighbors , our relatives and friends were there for their last respect. The pictures tell the story.
After the ceremony, all of us were taken to the Karacaahmet cemetery with a military bus. There according to the moslem tradition we took the body out of the casket in the white kefen(shroud). Cenan went down the grave along with a cemetry worker and laid the body on the earth. Two by fours were put diagonally above the body on a 45 degree angle to create a cushion between the body and the dirt which was to be thrown on top. After the showel work, water was poured on the grave and then finally it was all done. Hamza Ozmeral who was born in Üsküdar , Istanbul ninety years ago was finally at rest in the same district next to his mother and brothers.
Cem Ozmeral January 5, 2011 Dublin, Ohio
OUR MOTHER'S FUNERAL , DECEMBER 9, 2009
LAST PICTURE IN HER HOUSE, JULY 2009
HER LAST PICTURE IN HER HOUSE, JULY 2009. PHOTO BY CEM
Mustafa's Mail On December 14, 2010
Evet, ben de biraz sasirdim 5 Aralik gunu senden bir yazi gelmeyince...
Biz annemin hayattaki son 1 haftasinin yildonumunu her gun biraz yasadik; tabii belki de oldugu mekanin bizim evimiz olmasinin tesiri ile de. Thanksgiving'da hastaneye pure yapilmis hindi eti goturusumuz ve tabi yiyemeyisi..30 Kasim Pazar gecesi hastaneden cikarip eve getirirken bana "kac gun omrum var" diye sorusu..Pazartesi o evdeyken is seyahatine cikisim. Sali aksami dondugumde daha da bitkin bulusum. Carsamba son defa sedye ile dialize gidisi...Persembe yatakta bile oturamayacak hale gelisi ve sizleri cagirmam. Cuma ise gitmeyip evde kalisim; aksama sizlerin gelisiniz. Hospice nurse'in ilk defa gelisi..."Her tarafim agriyor", "oluyorum" diye butun gece sizlanisi. Kaan'in onun odasinda geceyi gecirmesi...Ben kimim diye sordugumda "annemsin" diyerek olum aninda annesini dusundugunu gostermesi...
Sonra Cumartesi baska nurse'ler doktorlar, hastane yatagi gelisi, evde kalabalik, ogleden sonra gittikce artan agrilarina karsi 2 kere morfin vermemiz ve aksam 6:15'te son..Yemek hazirligini birakip odasina girdigimde en son verdigimiz ilaci entarisine kusmus; "anne ne yaptin" diye cikisiyorum, baktim ki hic kimildamiyor ama artik huzurlu...
Cok kotu gunlerdi..Ilk yildonumu de zor gecti, cunku onemli bir psikolojik kilometre tasi. Bundan sonra daha kolay gecer.
Benim de aynen senin gibi annem ve babami (bir an bile olsa) dusunmedigim hic bir gunum gecmiyor...Bundan uzgun oldugum anlami cikmasin; hayatimdan cok memnunum ama onlari hep sevgiyle ve gulumseyerek aniyorum.
To be honest, I was a little surprised when I didn’t see a post from you on Dec. 5th...
We re-lived the first anniversary of her last week in life, each day of that final week..Possibly because she died in our home, the memories still linger. Thanksgiving day, we took her pureed turkey to the hospital room; of course she could not eat it. Sunday night on Nov 30, when I was checking her out of the hospital, she asks me "how many days do I have left?"...Monday morning, I am leaving on a business trip leaving her at home. Tuesday night, me coming back and finder her much weaker...>Wednesday was her last trip to the dialysis, on a stretcher and in an ambulance..Thursday she was unable to even sit up in bed; no strength left at all in her..I called you guys...Friday I did not go to work so I could take care of her..We brought the hospice nurse finally; you guys arrived in the evening..She was moaning all night saying "it hurts all over" and "I am dying"...Kaan spends the night in her room, on the loveseat. I asked her if she recognized who I was and she says "you are my mother", which shows who she was thinking of at her hour of dying...
.Saturday more doctors, nurses, big crowd, increasing pain; we finally got approval for some morphine and applied it twice to ease her pain...And then at 6:15 the end...We were preparing dinner for everyone; I entered her room to check on her; she had thrown up the last bit of powdered medication we tried for her too swallow; I said "anne, what did you do!", she was not moving at all but was in peace..
Those were some bad days..The first anniversary was a difficult psychological milestone and I am glad it is past. I think it will be better now.
Just like you, not a day goes by, that I don’t think of my mom and dad, even if it's for a moment each day...Don’t think that I am sad all the time - not at all, I am very happy, but I remember them with a smile on my face and a lot of love...
Cenan's Mail same day
Cem and Mustafa,
My feelings exactly (although I have hard time expressing my feelings).
I see and think of mom everyday. Some days are harder than other. I now understand why dad was so broken up when his mom had died. Losing your mother is much tougher.
Best is to celebrate her life and good times with her. She was special.
Asli's Message via AT&T on Dec 15,2010
Thank you for sharing this. I can't imagine the sad memories you have of the end of her life. I remember that I was not even strong enough to stay in her room those last hours. When I walked into the room I told my dad that I could see her passing away. I could see her leaving through her eyes. In a way I wish I never saw her like that. It was the last time I saw her. She was so well taken care of and forever will you and Aunt Kathy know what you did for your mother-our grandmother. I can't imagine these sad memories will ever go away but hopefully w time they will fade. You all shared a full wonderful life with babaanne and bukbaba so I hope you will be able to talk about those memories too. I know we would all love to hear stories about them. .. When the time is right. You should include all the grandkids bc I know we would all want to hear these stories and keep their memories with us. Ps thanks for the English interpretation. Dad I wish u would do that more often. We all miss them very much too.