John’s Syrian Grandmother

Posted: September 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
grand ma

Beth and our children with John’s Syrian  grandmother

John’s grandma came from Syria.  Yes, that country of ISIS, that country with civil war, that country where people are risking their lives in non-sea worthy boats trying to find safe haven elsewhere.

She came to the US as a young girl and married a boy from Lebanon.  They had several children and John’s dad was the eldest of them.  Wedad was her name and she outlived most of her children.  She was tiny but had a full bosom and feisty spirit.

She lived to be in her nineties and was spunky until the end.  She made grape leaves, yogurt and kibby.  Pistachios were always available and stained our fingers red. Pita bread held everything together. Her house was a grandma’s house with bowls of candy my children would dig into when we visited.  The decor was from the 50s or 60s and it never changed.  The garden outside the back door boasted an abundance of vegetables.

As a small girl she lived in a different Syria, a different time.  She was Catholic and grew up along side Muslims but they weren’t allowed to play together she told me.  I never got to hear much of her history but I knew their names, Wedad and Mansour.  I ate her food.  Grape leaves were my favorite.

I think about her now and wish my children could know her stories.  I think about how her heart would break for the country of her birth, her heritage, her food, her first language.  I think about what she might have to say about the land of her youth. I wonder where extended relatives might be.

Most of all I think about her sorrow and how she said a parent should never outlive a child.  She carried that sorrow in her heavy bosom and tiny frame.  She’s long at rest now.  Her country has no rest and it’s because of my children’s measure of Syrian blood in their history that this chapter of human misery moves me so.  When I see Syrians, I see people with names like Wedad who marry young men with names like Mansour.  I see children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Refugees have names, families, friends and they once had jobs and a country. They once had a home.  They deserve a new one.

Beth McHoul

  1. butlermc47 says:

    I often get comments about our last name. The Arabs always recognize it.

  2. Linda Leonard says:

    My heart breaks with yours. I’m pleased that a Syrian law student sponsored a rally this week to support our senator’s request that the US take 60,000. The “church” ought to open our hearts and homes and flood congress with requests that we be allowed to do so……..surely the children of this world suffer in our age. Thanks for the photo and memories.

  3. Carla says:

    It’s so hard to understand isn’t it. I loved this, and wish I could hear her stories too

  4. Becky says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s easy to think that it is so far away that it seems too abstract to worry about. The most important thing: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

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