Monday, November 18, 2013


Yesterday, Sunday, November 17th early in the morning I received a call from Banu, Hayati's niece to tell me that he had died that morning in the nursing home where he lived. He was 85 years of age.

She had been in Turkey for the last six months but returned to Canada  five days ago.  Happily she was able to visit her uncle twice in that time. She has been a wonderful niece to him and a fantastic and loving daughter to her mother Fevizye.

I have so many good memories of Hayati.  His sense of humour, his gentlemanly behaviour, his love for my children and his affection for me.  Even when we split up, we remained good friends for 36 years more and were in communication by phone when I moved to Hamilton.  On one of my trips to Toronto, I visited him for a short while.  Although the outer shell which is the body had changed into an old man, the inner person which I cared for, never changed.  He asked me if I remembered the "good old times" and, of course, I did.

I was invited to visit his family in Turkey in 1977 and I stayed with them for a month, staying at Robert College in Istanbul.  His mother and sister Fevziye welcomed me with open arms and treated me as a member of the family.  I met his brother and his sister-in-law in Bursa and his nieces and we did some travelling through Turkey.  I saw the real Turkey, not just the tourist attractions.

I have taken out my photo book to look at pictures of that trip.  I will try and take some photos of the photos I took so many years ago.  Hopefully you will be able to see them a little bit.

I will never forget how kind and good his family was to me.  His mother reminded me so much of my Irish grandmother in her looks.  I remember doing some ironing in their kitchen and Mrs.Kurtulan spreading out her prayer mat and praying.  I loved that.

Hayati, Mrs. Kurtulan and myself in Turkey at Robert College

The Blue Mosque in the background - note the many people just in this snapshot.

The first picture was taken on the balcony of their apartment overlooking the Bosphorus Sea.

Turkish airline ticket to travel within Turkey

The ever inquisitive resident cat, looking at the picture book from long ago
This is a statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus in her last home which is believed to be in Ephesus in Turkey.  In Islam, Mary and Jesus are highly regarded.

Inside the Blue Mosque

Robert College where the family had an apartment

The ship we took to go to Yalova

The young me on the ship
The trip was a wonderful highlight in our relationship but the most important part was our companionship and our respect for each other.  Hayati was very special in my life and I will miss him.

May Almighty God forgive him of any sin which he has not repented before dying and grant him Paradise.

May God grant peace and comfort to his niece and her husband and son.

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