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.