My darling, anoush Dikin Yvan,
I loved you the most. You taught me unlike any ordinary teacher. You taught me love, you taught me grace, you taught me discipline, and you taught me that the relationship between teacher and student is an indescribable bond, if you’re as lucky as I was. I almost want to write this post in Armenian.
Yes chanachum em kez kani vor yes hing darekan ei. Skats ropeits minchev yes handipel em kez, du dartzel im dadiki.
I met you when I was five years old. From the second I met you, you became my grandmother. Maybe it was because I was your favorite student, even though I did my homework in the car on the way to class just like the rest of them. Maybe it was my big green eyes you would always call metz dzitabdughner, big olives. Maybe it was the way you would hug me; I remember sinking into your ribbed sweaters, into the comforting clouds of your soft body, my head buried in your motherly bosom.
Not once did I get upset when you disciplined us for not pronouncing something right. The other kids hated you, but I only saw compassion behind your eyes. Kids can be so cruel, so unintentional, so naive. You were a force to be reckoned with. It felt like a little lifetime, those years. How long has it been? Since the bliss of my childhood and running to your arms each Friday night? Even when I got too old to give old ladies hugs, you were still one of the only ones I made the effort to.
You see, dear Yvan, you were my favorite person in this world. I don’t know why you loved me so hard. I don’t know why you called my your grandchild. Perhaps it was because your granddaughter was my best friend. I just remember you showing so much care and dedication towards teaching us our language and our culture. It was through you that I developed this lasting connection with my ancestors and my ancestors’ ancestors. Sweet, sweet, dikin…I can only imagine you now. Where you are, only God knows. I’ve tried so hard to find you, and I feel like I’m aimlessly searching for a piece of my soul that’s gone missing. But I will find you, if its in this life or another.
I can only say: Thank You. Thank you for the life you gave, the lessons, and most importantly the love. Words cannot explain how grateful I am to you, old master. You sparked the flame for finding my blood in what is true and what is holy. You sparked the eternal flame for scholarship and always looking for the old and the new ways. I hope you are drinking wine underneath an apricot tree with Komitas Vartabed. I hope you are singing in revelry with Sayat Nova. You so loved to sing. Even now, when I think about how grateful I am to you, I can only communicate the purest thoughts in Armenian. And that is all because of you, because of your kindness and patience, and willingness to not let me stare absently at this treasure box, but to open it and use all of its gifts. Dikin Yvan, I have felt a thunder in my heart. I know you are no longer here. I know you’re someplace better, oh I cannot wait to sing the hymns with you. As I listen to Arno Babajanian’s Exprompt, I can imagine you standing beside the piano singing in that clear voice of yours. You are always smiling, even though your teeth are worn from war and famine. Your hair always the thin line between gold and grey. But you area lively, jahel, strong as ever. You are a vision, exuding rays of light. As if we have a house and rooms for all the children, where there is always light, and always ripe fruit to be picked.
You are my light, my clear stone, the verdant path.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I will hold your love, your instruction, your kindness, and your warm warm hug in my heart and mind forever.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for making a place so strange feel like a home. Thank you for being my dadik. I can only apologize for withstanding visits, for forgetting to love you in your old days. But I will make it up to you. I will find her, and together we will laugh and cry of these memories. Together we will complete your memory. We will travel to the old city and find your home and fix it up.
We will make it right.
Forever with love, respect, and truth,
Անաջէ, metz puchik, metz dzitabughner