Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Endings

Yesterday, I learned of the death of my aunt Selima, Dad's sister. She passed away on Friday. She had suffered a lot lately from diabetes and other health-related issues. Her health deteriorated dramatically, especially after her son Khalil bin Hemadi was taken to fight in Chad and never made it back. Earlier this year, I received indirect communications from Khalil, or so the messenger claimed, asking for a certified birth certificate from Libya. The source claimed that Khalil is well and alive in the US, married to a Tunisian and has kids. Something was fishy and I wanted no part in it. I got the birth certificate from Libya, and told the source that Khalil needs to call me himself if he wants it, or he better stop those games I'm not interested in. I also said that I will report the communication to the authorities if it continued in that way. Never heard from them again!

Back to Auntie Selima. This picture was taken in December 1, 1998 in my Fatha party in Benghazi. That was the last I've seen of her. She was such a sweet and tender, loving person. Always reminded me of Grandma Mardya Tarbah (her mother). She looked a lot like her: Height, size, skin color, persona and all.

My family is now in Derna for the funeral. I've been trying to reach Dad and will keep trying. I dread the call because I am obliged to talk to every single person there and give condolences. To me, that does not mean anything. It is a mere rhetoric of repeating the same words and phrases to every person and moving on to the next. So artificial. I dread those calls and wish to be left alone.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from my brother Waleed. He told me of abla Fatma's death. Abla Fatma was his mother-in-law, Manal's Mom. She was in her 50s, a victim of cancer.

It is so hard to hear of the loss of a dear one when you are far far away and all you can do is give meaningless condolences over the phone. I don't even have the luxury of mourning the dead ones; life goes on with no feel of the recent loss. Why? Because I have lost those people from my life a long time ago; I haven't seen them all those years, and had no idea if or when I would see them again. Every time I receive such a call, I find relief in that it's not of my parents or siblings. And I wonder whom is the next call going to be for.

I don't shed tears any more, not so easily anyway. But I do feel an ache inside. It's like a stab or a constriction. I ache more for the living left behind... My father who lost his sister, and Manal who lost her mother. May they all find peace!

I move on... Death is a fact of life.