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My Small Slim Greek Suicide (In the memory of my beloved mother, Barbara Arguriou) by Petros Arguriou

(My mother Barbara Arguriou, with her beloved daughter, Summer 2012)

June 30, 2013 hellasashell Written by her own son, Petros Arguriou on Friday 28 June 2013 – Translated by Dimitra Papageorgiou (Petros will guest on The RSB Show Tuesday, July 2, 2013)

I am unable to count the Greek crisis suicides anymore. But I am absolutely certain that from yesterday they are x+1. I am positive, because this +1 added to the math of death was… my mother.

I was emotionally disconnected from my parents very early in life: They supported the System, and they were preparing me for it as did all house-proud families of these days.

In my teenage eyes, the emotional distancing from my parents was a titanic battle against the System, a system which I knew since I was very young how twisted and corrupt it was, without the need of some poisonous indoctrination to program me to react to it.

Of course, even if I was right, I was wrong. My parents, like millions of other Greek parents, were simple and naive people, trapped by the spender usury of their time.

It was a fatal mistake, for them and for my generation and all the generations to come, but a mistake made out of ignorance.

Because of my early detachment and the rejection of all parental stereotypes, I can objectively say:

My mother was a saint. She would help anyone in need. She spent endless years in the hospitals of anguish and shame and she was a volunteer nurse and a psychopomp to dozens of relatives, acquaintances, even to absolute strangers. She would embrace every child on her path.

Her soul had not the slightest blemish. The slightest fraudulence.

Her inexhaustible love was the bonding glue for all the family.

Restless, with a liveliness that would outrun that of her children, combined.

She was bearing her cross without grievances. She never complained about anything. Never asked anything for return. A personification of selfishness.

The last few years were the hardest of her life even after all she has been through.

Crisis savagely entered her life and her household. The future of her three children -all of them well educated- nowhere in sight. Her husband’s pension was brutally cut back. A pension worked and paid for to the last moment, was cut well under half. A pension stolen by the political thugs.

They call it financial rationalization nowadays, they call it reform, and they call it consolidation but don’t let them fool you. What is happening in Greece is a state sponsored theft. A massive audacious theft.

Father’s nagging became a daily routine. Financial pressure was unbearable. The relentless brainwashing from the media, programming us to comply with the massive property, dignity and life theft was taking its toll on everyone’s sanity.

Mother stood to the occasion. She bore everyone’s crosses. She worked constantly in her household with night tariff to save a euro or two.

Relentless with herself. Unrelenting. She slept four hours a day to have everything taken care of.

All of a sudden, twenty days ago, under all this pressure and with all the pain she had stoically accumulated, my good mother collapsed.

This tiny little creature full of life became a shadow of herself. She would not eat. She would not speak. Doctors were futile.

Once upon a time, my mother, with the flares of common wisdom she had, said to me “My boy, I admire you: You are like the phoenix. You always rise up again no matter how many times you fall”. Her words were the greatest gift of all.

In her hour of desperation, I tried to return her this heartfelt loan. I tried to tell her, “Do you remember, mum, you are a Phoenix, too”.

But it was too late. The darkness that conquered Greece and entered my mother’s life as well would greedily devour her inner spark to make sure that she, my little phoenix, would never ever rise up again. That she, our pillar of light and love, would perish for good.

Engulfed by the darkness she was talking crazy. She said to her children, to us, that she murdered us. That she destroyed us. She wanted us to recognize her as our murderer. She asked to surrender to the police. She begged for her exemplary punishment. Punishment for being a saint all her life.

Television was talking through her. She claimed the she, a plain ex-middle class housewife, was the one who stole hundreds of billions from the Greek people, undefended as she was against the international propaganda of the collective Greek blame and shame. She asked to surrender to the police.

She was aware that darkness had taken over her mind. She knew illness very well; after all she had escorted patiently so many people to their last journey.  She would not surrender herself to sickness.

We lost her through our arms.

When others of her age tremble at the thought of death, she rushed to her own death, to force him to relieve her from her martyrdom. Those final, fatal and indelible seconds when my father went to the kitchen to turn the cooker off, she opened the bedroom window and made her heroic exit.

Silently, obediently yet swiftly, she took all her crosses with her to use them as a sinker that would allow her featherweight body of 43 kilos to be crushed by gravity.

It was not death that made my mother a heroine. Not like it happened with the hero Dimitris Christoulas, the pensioner who publicly committed suicide in 2012 to stall the genocidal policies enforced in Greece. It was not death that made my mother a heroine. Mother Barbara was a heroine in her everyday life. A little everyday heroine.

We heard people screaming underneath the house.

When we saw her from the balcony, lying near the garbage can, each and everyone of us collapsed. How couldn’t we? The main pillar of our household was broken. Her bones were broken.

Like houses of cards we fell on the floor bursting in tears.

We went downstairs through the thunderstruck crowd.

Our mother left us the way we remembered her: Without a scratch. Not a drop of blood tainting her appearance.

All the damage was internal. All was kept inside. As in life, so in death.Our little girl.

My father was pulling his hair in his desperation:  “My little sparrow. My little lamb. Oh my little dove!”

He was still in love with her, his companion in life. He was not crying for himself. He cried for her. No one was crying for oneself. All were crying for someone so rare that was gone.

“I am a murdered” shouted my father. “I am a criminal”.

No, my father was not a murderer. He is a good man. Bereaved for the rest of his life of beloved life-companion.

My mother did not leave a suicidal note. We did not get the chance to say goodbye, to listen to her last wishes, to hold her hand, to caress her hair and give her a kiss on the chick.

She left bellwether, proud and alone.

My mother’s death will leave us with more debts.  As I predicted years ago for the country, we are by now hardly able to bury our dead.

But she left us a rich legacy. Her immense soul.A little piece of her soul to mend our broken hearts from her loss. To make us not crueler, but better people.

A legacy we ought to honor. I hope –I can only hope- that we will prove worthy of her bequest: Her love for all people.

I was one of the first to highlight the issue of crisis suicides. I did it to warn people of things to come, to give them a fighting chance. Yet, the tragic irony of my mother committing suicide now haunts our home and our lives.

My mother tried to convince us that she was a murderer. That she had somehow killed us. My mother was not a murderer. She was a saint.

My father was shouting that he was a murderer. That he let his wife commit suicide.

He is not a murderer. He’s a good man.

I am not a murderer nor is anyone from my family.

But I know who my mother’s killer is. It was not his hand of course that pushed her from the window. This was done by her own will and with the almost invincible, heroic even, willfulness to dignity.

It was he, the assassin, who placed this large and heavy burden on her back, on top of the crosses that she carried willingly and without complaint for decades, with her 43 kilos.

It was he, the killer, who confined her, that restless indefatigable woman, on that bed of shame, next to the life escaping window. That window was all she could see as exodus from a pain inside so horrible she dared not utter.

This murderer, this serial killer with the license and immunity to kill, with poisons or silencer, is the political system of this country. And for this monster, death penalty should be reinstated.

A few hours before my mother’s heroic exit, a 41 year old Greek, Nick Tzianis, made his own exit, jumping from the third floor. His suicide memo was both an outright conviction of the rotten Greek political system and a call to arms against it:  «May I, be the last one who will pay your decisions with his blood… May my blood become a river that will drown you…»

Hundreds of thousands young Greeks have “exited” their ruined country seeking for a dignified life. Thousands of Greeks, young and old have “exited” their ruined lives seeking for a dignified death. This is the story of the real Grexit, a story hardly ever told. An exodus from their land of promises and towards the kingdom of the modern monetary Pharaohs.Greeks always preferred death over slavery.