My dearest children,
This morning at 2 am Damascus time, my mom, your grandmother, passed away. You had known her as one of the most giving and positive people you encountered in your life and she was. She was an amazing elementary school teacher who was on a mission to make a difference in those young kids’ life. She relocated often as your grandfather, the judge, was posted in various cities in the mosaic of culture, ethnicities and religions called Syria. Her strong religious beliefs did not prevent her from keeping an open mind and an open heart to deep friendship with all. Her life purpose was clear to her and all around her. It was the wellbeing of her family. She will do whatever it takes to ensure that.
But life for her wasn’t always easy. First, her three children disappeared as I, your aunt and your uncle, her children, spread around the world away from her in Orlando, Paris and Dubai. Her solace was that we are pursuing our dreams. She didn’t want to relocate again away from her extended family, memories and the beloved city, Damascus. It was extremely painful for her in the past years to see her beloved country disintegrate in the chaos of the Civil War. When it got dangerous she left reluctantly to Dubai, not because it’s a better life but because she felt it would make us more comfortable and less worried. She thought it would be for a few months. As the stay extended to 2 years with no end in sight, she decided she wanted to go back to Damascus. To her home. Despite all the dangers of the civil war, the continuous days without electricity or water, the sound of war planes flying everyday and the steady flow of sad news. Every call with her started with I miss you, was full of hopes, smiles and words of comfort. Words of comfort and smiles for us not to be worried about her and my dad. Her positivity was still contagious coming through Skype!
As she fell ill, she would refuse to do a video conference. I insisted and she said: no! I don’t want you to remember me this way. Yet her few words were always happy, positive and hopeful. Always ending with prayers for our happiness. She made me and my brother promise that whatever happens to her that we don’t go to Damascus at this time because it’s not safe for us!
2 hours before she passed away, I had the chance to tell her without her being able to answer back, not knowing that it would be for the last time, that we all miss her and look forward to being with her soon.
I had six hours to reflect and mourn before it’s time for you to wake up in Florida. This is a challenging time for me and I’m sure for you all as we mourn without being able to be there with my father and our extended family. However, challenging times are the ones who give you the most clarity. The test of what’s true and false in your life. What’s important and what’s not. What to keep and what to get rid off. The moments where reflections are most natural compared to the moments of joy. Shouldn’t they be celebrated?
Aren’t reflections, contemplation, clarity and wisdom gained part of the state of happiness we all should be living?
I’m sure my mom would answer, Yes.
The thought that is in my mind since I heard the sad news is a thought I read in a new book written by a dear new friend, Mo Gawdat: ”death is the opposite of birth not the opposite of life.”
Indeed life continues with everyone whoever lived and they forever will remain a part of it.
Mom, I know you will always be with us.