It’s 3:48 AM and I can’t sleep anymore. For the past 10 years, every so often, say every month or two, I’ve had this dream, actually let’s call it what it really is, a nightmare. A nightmare that I’m being chased. Always the same story, getting chased by a man, a dark, scary, sweaty, dirty and relentless man, who without a doubt is out to hurt me. There’s always familiar faces in it, friends usually, sometimes family but neither can ever help me. At the end of the dream, I always wake up right when the man is about to catch me. So far, he never has. Tonight he didn’t either. I usually get back to sleep after a 1/2 hr because I’m used to it happening. But tonight I can’t. Tonight, my friends were not in the nightmare, but my family was: my mother, grand mother, sister, twin brother and nephew. One was missing.
Amina (from the Coup de Coeur Blog) sent me an email yesterday about missing my posts. Though I meant to answer over email first, I didn’t get around to it before going to bed. I have gone M.I.A for a while. Last you heard from me, I was coming back from travels and getting slammed by a wicked agenda between thesis, papers, internships and work… Though I was able to finish and graduate, the unthinkable happened: my dad left on May 2nd at 1:05 AM. I was on the plane taking me to Dakar after my mom told me dad wasn’t feeling really well since the day before.
He never got to see me graduate. My reason for ambition and determination had left a week before I graduated.
You see, the worst part of that nightmare that got me curled up in a ball when I woke up,was not about being chased around, but rather because of my dad’s absence in that nightmare. To this day, a month and 29 days later, I go around, back to routine day after day, after day and yes I’m able to smile, joke around, even laugh. But every once in a while, something, and it’s never something precise, makes you break down. In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of people, in public places, in the shower, behind the wheel…anytime, anyplace. I went to Tunis for work last week and though it did me some good, I broke down in the middle of a meeting. No triggered word, no triggered image… just thoughts alone, and a heavy & bleeding heart… Anytime, anyplace…
Everyone said: it was God’s will and the funniest part is, I have said that to people before, but I don’t think I could’ve ever realized what it meant, and I still don’t. If there was a plan out there for my dad to pass and life to go on, I don’t know what that plan is for because the pain my sister, brother and I have gone and still go through is only made worst by seeing my mom’s world completely shattered and having no idea what to do with herself. Despair alone is enough to break you to pieces, let alone missing him. Heaven should’ve waited…
… Or picked me. If there was ever a way to designate oneself before God called my everything back to Him, then I would’ve volunteered to go over him. Because there’s so much my dad was looking fwd to, because there’s so much more coming from me that I would’ve wanted him to see and be proud of, because there’s so much good he could’ve still done for people around him. It’s unbelievable how many stories I’ve heard after he passed that almost made me feel like I didn’t know him. People coming fwd with stories about how he helped or even saved their lives. And closer to my heart, stories about him, his reactions, temper, character, habits, likes, dislikes and it made me smile under puffy, teary eyes because I realized right then, tough I had an idea already, that I am my dad’s carbon copy. And though it makes me proud, it also leaves me ever sadder. Everyone has a story about dad but the same theme keeps coming around: “Un homme de paix, mais avant tout un homme de principes”. Avoiding drama like the plague, but ready to stand up for what he thought was right.
If nothing else, my mom, sister, brother and I were proud. Even from his place in the cemetery, next to his mom and dad, he made us proud. If today indeed I’ve lost 1/2 of me, lost all of my ambition, lost quite a bit of my reason for being, God only left me with pride, memories and a whole lot of questions. Can I add anger? Because I kinda am, but that’s blasphemous, isn’t it?
If only heaven would’ve waited, he would’ve seen his grandson (that little devil!) turn one the day before he passed, me graduate 6 days after he passed, his wife’s bday a month later… And God knows he wanted to see all of that, he was getting ready for all of that. Even he didn’t know he was leaving. 2009 started off very well for each and everyone of us 5 in the family and all was going smoothly, until May 1st when he suddenly got stomach pains…
So here’s why I haven’t posted anything in so long. It might just be that way for a while because I have to admit, not much matters to me right now, not even myself. I will get through this. They say tough times do not last, but tough people sure do, and family and I will.
For now, despair and a big empty hole are all I got… And no one can help.
- God grant me the serenity
- To accept the things I cannot change;
- Courage to change the things I can;
- And wisdom to know the difference.