Being Berrak,  Family

The Memory Keeper’s Burden

Friends passing the volleyball around in the sun.

Families having picnics, as the kids run around chasing bubbles.

A friendly baseball game between families.

Daisies peeking out in the sunshine.

One of the girls running trips and falls, ripping her white tights. Her dad immediately swoops her up as her mom strips off the tights to clean her wound. Her brother still running after bubbles with bare feet.

These are all portraits of my past that I’ve kept locked away for so long, because with the positive memories come the nostalgia, the reminder that somewhere, something was broken, and those memories are now just a distant reminder of my childhood. I sat on a bench, unable to hold back my tears as all of these memories unexpectedly flooded my heart and soul this past Sunday. I couldn’t hold it back. It all seems so lost – the memories seem to be fading, and I fear that because I don’t talk about it, my brother might not remember it all.

The good memories were rare, but they were there. When we lived in Turkey, and after we moved to the U.S.

We would spend almost every weekend in downtown DC, sometimes close to the Reagan Airport, laying on the grass as the planes took off and landed, passing above our heads. My brother and I would kick the soccer ball around.

Most of the time we would go over to my cousin’s house – us kids playing volleyball, soccer, baseball or a combination of the three in the field behind their house. There were days we ventured down to the tennis courts. Then there was the pool.

It’s no secret that I’m very nostalgic. Tradition is important to me.

I’m the memory keeper of my family. From my brother’s baby pictures, to my parents’ wedding pictures to their pictures in their respective teenage years, to random black & white pictures of great aunts and uncles I never met.

I hold on to my memories with dear life, holding on to whatever tradition I can as life moves forward – way too fast, way too slow, way too chaotic, way too distant.

It’s critical to who I am as a person – remembering where I’ve come from, remembering the memories time tries to wipe away as life becomes too burdensome, pushing moments deeper and deeper beneath the scars.

I’m trying to create traditions for myself as an adult. It’s difficult because my blood family is too distant and my friends have traditions of their own. If my life goes down the path of having a family of my own, with a partner I can rely on to help me raise our kids (if I end up having kids), I want to carry these traditions from my past into their lives, making them our own.

For now – I’ll try to hold back my tears as I lock these memories away, until the times I’m ready to dive into the deep end of my soul once again.

In the meantime, who knows, you might finding me picking up a volleyball again.