Stockholm four PM and almost dark. My Iphone vibrates.
The caller-ID begins with +49, that’s Germany.

Who of my siblings could it be? Lila maybe.

“Hello, who’s it?”
“Is this Achmed?”

Female voice, not Lila.

“Oh, I’m Sarah, Lila gave me you number… before… “.

“Before what?”
“… before the truck came.”
“Achmed, she’s dead”.
“My father’s still in Turkey. I need Skype to reach him, can I call you back in an hour?”.
“Yes…. it’s my own phone.”

In Damascus we lived in the same street, now we’re scattered everywhere.
Do we need death to bring us together again?

When I saw the stumps it made me think of a scattered family, and how many families become scattered among the refugees. I assume that’s chain migration can be about family values too.

Rochelle hosts Friday Fictioneers each week, and on Wednesday we all can start to link up new stories. I will try to read as many as possible from now and through the weekend.

January 31, 2018

75 responses to “Scattered

  1. I like your take on this..scattered families. It also applies to many families. A good reminder to spend that quality time with each other…while we still have breath.

  2. This photo brought to me the image of a scattered family too.
    Your story is heartwrenching, so terrible to have a stranger announce the death of a family member.

  3. I have several relatives that I only see at funerals. We always bemoan the fact that it’s the only time we see each other, then go back to our daily lives and do nothing to change.

    Hope you had a great Birthday.

  4. First off, happy birthday!
    And, this was brilliantly done. Like so many families, the gatherings happen at funerals – even more so than weddings. A few years ago my aunt got fed up and decided to hold a BBQ. Was nice to see people gather for a reason other than death…

    • Indeed… I think that’s why i sometimes feel that funerals can be quite joyful… in this case the added dimension is that they couldn’t see each other as they were separated by borders… when you wait to gain residence you are not allowed to leave the country… so the brother and sister had not a chance to meet….

  5. What a tragedy. Your story raises an important issue as well. This family are probably not scattered by choice, but by the accident of which country would accept them at the time they were fleeing. Nations’ policies towards asylum seekers lead to much heartache, I fear.

    • Thank you, yes that was indeed my thought.. as asylum seekers you cannot leave the country you have ended up in… so it’s not unlikely that a family is scattered all over Europe waiting for the decision.

  6. A very interesting interpretation of the photo prompt. The plight of asylum seekers in our violent world is heartbreaking, especially when families are separated and displaced. Heavy sigh. Very nice story! =)

  7. The dreaded phone call… one of the reasons I no longer have a phone, it never rang unless it was bad news.

  8. I can relate to this totally. My mom went back to her hometown for a holiday. And tragically passed away there. My siblings and I came from four corners of the globe to arrange her funeral. Not only did death bring us together again, but my mum was adventurous and we had to travel to arrange her funeral in a foreign country. How we did it, God knows. She took us on one last adventure is how I like to see it.
    Thank you for this thought provoking piece. Brought back memories for me.

  9. such an original take – and I felt their separation and it is sad when family is apart – and funny – but I see much migration here in the states and it is not from war or calamity – just from moving by choice…

  10. Unfortunately, a timely tale and the reality for many. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of being displaced by war compounded by the scattering of loved ones. Excellent take.

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