“Those who do not have a father, I am going to take care of their children”

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– You are a fatherless boy; where are you going?

– Those who do not have a father, I am going to take care of their children.

These are Nver Gulinyan’s words when he was going to war.

Nver

Nver was born in 1996, when I was 44 years old. Some people barely live up to 44 years, but I started a new life at that age. God gave him to me, the name was given by him too [Nver in Armenian means gift]․ A gift. I gave my gift as a gift. I had another son too, who died at the age of 18, 4 years before Nver was born. When I came home [from the maternity hospital] hugging my gift, my husband hugged us both and we were spinning around the house, and he said, “Make the child yell so that his sound is heard all over the house; it will bring joy.” Such scenes occur only in Indian movies. I had my Gift to continue my life, and see what happened!”

Before the war

He was a working guy, taking care of the whole house. He had a girlfriend. He migrated to Russia to work, then, when he returned, he said:

“Mom, you shall not need anything; your son will take care of everything.”

On September 27th

– What do I know about the war? What can I say about it?  Nver was serving in Gyumri.

He was at work on the September 27th when he got the notification about the military service. He came, had dinner, washed and left. He was in Jrakan all the time, but did not tell me anything. He asked his friends:

– Don’t tell Mama, let her not know where I am.

Four days after the start of the war, he came home for 15 minutes. “Mom dear, how are you, what are you doing?” And left. He went and that was it! He did not tell anything about the war at all, he said everything was all right. We asked him not to go, he had a chance not to go, but he said:

– Mom, if we do not go, who will go?

They say he was very fearless, never looked back. When the fellow fighters were afraid, he said, “Well, aren’t you men? What are you afraid of? Hold on tight, nothing will happen to us.”

He got killed

He was killed on October 13 in Jrakan. My relatives knew, but they did not tell me. His fellow servicemen say he died from Bayraktar [Turkish medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations] attack. He was brought to the village on October 23, that’s when I found out. He received letters of appreciation, posthumously received a medal of combat service.

The state

Some time ago Pashinyan [the Prime Minister of Armenia]went to the cemetery. We have three victims here, he visited all three with bouquets and learned their biographies. When they told him about Never, he said “Then, why did they take this boy [to the army]?” Then he inquired what I needed mostly, what I lacked, and ordered that all the issues be resolved immediately, and they did. Then soldiers were sent to me, I said I did not need anything. They left their addresses so that I could contact them if necessary.

They should not have taken my son. It is written in his Military ID that he is a sniper, a spy. They have read so much, have they not read what is written next to it? That he was single, his brother is dead, his father is dead, he has two sisters.

I (the mother, Liza Gulinyan)

There is nothing to say. I am just wandering with tears in my eyes; I do not know what to do. If they were going to give the lands back, why they did not do it on time?  How many candles [means lives] went out… They were children, not chicken… W are dying, you know? What can they say to comfort me? How many families were affected by this war? I cannot reconcile, you know, he was not the only one.

I have two daughters and four grandchildren. But they have their families. What about me? How long shall I sit and wait someone to visit me in the evening, stay with me?  I must live with hope. What else can I do? Suppose, I throw a rope around my neck, hang myself — what then?

Whether it is destiny or God, it did not want me to breathe at all. I do not know.

Ani Torosyan