Izolda Murusidze, 81, Tbilisi

Izolda Murusidze, 81, Tbilisi

„Let me be straightforward… If anyone loves Georgia, that must be me. I used to be enthusiastic and patriotic in everything but my son’s death has embittered me so much that I always say I’d rather have a coward son who is alive. I am being honest here. I am not pleased that he went to war and left his two children to me – to me who had grown without parents and knew what it meant to be an orphan…

When I was 9 years old, I had already lost both of my parents. My father was killed by typhoid fever. Mom could not overcome his loss and developed paralysis. I have been through terrible hardships… When mother’s hand or leg started to shake and no one else was around, I, a little child, would sit on the limb to relieve her. She suffered like that for five years, no treatment could help her and then she passed away.

There was a war going on then. We sold everything of any value and I went through extreme poverty. This is how my siblings and I grew up… I graduated from the higher institution and started to work. There, I met my husband. We fell in love and I, born and raised in Tbilisi, married him and went to live with him in the countryside. He was an amazing husband, I had great children, my parents-in-law were supportive and I gladly called them “mother” and “father”. Everyone was happy that I had finally found peace and settled down. However, my ill fate was not going to let me be…

It was 1992, the year of elections, when 10 boys, including my son, sneaked out of our village to fight in the war. Some of them were killed soon after and on.y 7 remained of these boys from Asureti. Sometimes they would come back and then leave again. That time, when they were back, Sukhumi was already falling. They went to the airport to fly back to Sukhumi. One plane had fallen the day before. And this plane was not going to take off as the probability that it would be shot was too high, actually there was 0% chance of safe landing. In the end, the plane, filled with 100 fighters, took off. This was the notorious plane that was shot down and everybody on board was killed, my son among them…

This was indeed very patriotic of my son but I, as a mother, say that I do love Georgia but I don’t need the country were my son is not walking around… Why did he abandon his wife and children, why did he ruin my life?! This is what I think but back then my son was like obsessed… Once he left something home and returned in a car. When he went inside, I came outside, opened my arms wide and told him: “Beso, I will not let you go even if you walk over me”. “Mother, move aside or I will walk over you,” – he told me in a tone that scared me and I instinctively moved aside.

Death of my son hurts so much that I have said numerous times (and I may be wrong) – I did not care about patriotism, all I wanted was my son to be alive. This is what most mothers think. For example, two brothers and their cousin died in that plane alongside my son. That mother must be devastated.

In 1996, my husband went along the squad to bring the bodies of the boys home. Those who had died in Babushera, had been buried together with the help of Abkhazians. When my husband went to the grave marked with the number of his son and started to dig, he was told the curfew was over and he had to top. My husband jumped in the half-dug grave, telling them he was not going to leave without his son so they may as well bury him alive. One Abkhazian man was so sorry for him that he helped my husband dig the rest of the grave.

I used to be very enthusiastic and, even during those times, I was one of the most active mothers. We, mothers, set up a fund for the missing individuals. I knew that my son was buried in a specific place but some mothers did not even know that. That is why we gathered and worked to help families find them. I was very actively involved in that and we found many missing bodies.”