“The day begins with the voice of my Ghukas. He calls, gives an order not to be depressed and turns the phone off,” Mary Abgaryan presents her everyday mornings by showing us the photos of her son published on the Defense Army webpage.

In this war situation, the one who gives Mary strength is her only son who is on the frontline, the 20-year-old Ghukas Abgaryan. The boy named after his uncle who died during the Artsakh war in the 1990s continues with great love and pride the work the uncle left unfinished. According to his mother, Ghukas resembles his uncle in many ways.

“My husband’s brother was from a special police detachment, as part of the “Mahuji”. He died on December 3, 1992 in the Lachin corridor. Ghukas is very proud of his uncle’s path, he was very interested in the battles of those years from an early age, he read [about those years and battles]. He did not imagine a military future for himself, but that fighting spirit has always been inside of him.”

The boy was drafted into the army in January 2018, a few months after graduating from the school named after Ghukas Abgaryan. During that time, he managed to study, work in Moscow, then returned and left for service. The boy living in Aghavnatun village of Armavir region, by a happy coincidence, attended sergeant classes in Echmiadzin military unit for 6 months, then moved to Artsakh.

He has never complained about the military service, always spoke about the army life and his comrades-in-arms with love․

“He never asked for anything from us. Only a few days ago, when they were sending sweets to them, he asked to include also the book The Black Garden (Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War), which he had received as a gift from his sister. I said, dear Ghukas, it is a big thick book, it will take up a lot of space, he said, it’s OK, I am fighting against them, I must be familiar with the war.”

The last time the family was able to see Ghukas was during his vacation last year, then the COVID-19 arrived and visits were banned, then followed September 27 [war against Armenia by Azerbaijan]…

“Everything turned upside down for us… insult, sadness, anger, everything was mixed up. I jumped over every phone call, Ghukas was raising my spirit. He used to say, ‘Mom, many generations have seen wars, every generation must go through this, do not be upset, this will pass, just do not be upset’, he is optimistic” even in war.”

There comes a moment when I am amazed at his fighting spirit. Yesterday, while talking to his father, the sound of Grad shelling was heard, his father asked in fear, ‘What was that?’, he said, ‘Don’t worry, pa, it’s our guys, they are frying’.”

“The war matured the boys,” Mary says quietly, glancing again at the news on the screen of her cellphone.

The mother did not imagine that after so many years the story could be repeated and the struggle left unfinished by the boy’s uncle could be continued by the boy himself․

“Although, perhaps subconsciously, Ghukas was ready for war.”

Roza Vardanyan

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