Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘mother

Pretty late Mama, good evening.

A long time immigrant, bewildered how to erect a State in his country

A couple of poems that I wrote in Arabic in January 1991 and that I didn’t recall writing them in a letter to my parents.

Although I cannot claim that I was in love with my parents, I still recognized their dedication and care as they could master with their little education. I cannot recall, my brother, sister and I had any conversation with our parents. We were Not allowed to join visitors and share in the discussions.

Before 6 years of age, we were all shipped to a boarding school in Lebanon to save us from the deadly African diseases. They were strangers to us as they visited us one summer out of two.

Actually, I was the one who stayed with them till they passed away at very old ages, through mightily hard extended and debilitating illnesses.

Mother, late pretty mama, good evening.

I get furious when people just recall you as a chic woman

A great eye for fashion and designer fingers.

Mother, the cornerstone and guiding rod to father

In all his risky adventures, and later hopeless states of mind.

I know better,

You were afraid for me of people, of this harsh world

A world of no mercy.

Where to go and flee?

Mother, you freed me twice as I decided to immigrate.

Thank you.

I had far more hard days in foreign lands than relaxing ones.

I was one day away from joining the homeless, and feeling the cramps of hunger.

How I survived is the miracle.

The miracle of hundreds of people who felt pity on my conditions.

Free me once again mother.

I am Not complaining: I decided to liberate myself by my own volition

An immigrant who fled the civil war,

And bewildered how to erect a State in his country.

Twenty years out of his home country

In a welcoming country that refuses to be my second home.

A country that decided to liberate Kuwait and restitute it to its tribal Sheikhs.

Children born and Not recognized as citizens

So that oil money remain for its tribal Sheikhs and their descendent,

Their women and their colonial Masters.

Father, the good hearted husband

Who could never refuse to lend, even when he didn’t have any in his older years.

At the instigations of mother when they were in a well-to -do condition relative to the extended families.

But it is father who is remembered as the good Samaritan.

A father who helped generations of physicians, engineers, teachers

Who appreciated him for as long as their feathers grew into powerful wings.

Yes, father passed away, destitute and barely visited.

The same with mother who cried for being left isolated and ignored.

You will Not be ignored anymore.

Rest in peace.

Note: Julie




The slowest and cruelest of deaths: Invented by health care systems for elderly

Elderly people to die in indignity: the slowest of death invented by health care systems

A friend confided in me. He talked for an hour and his story almost matched mine.

The story of parents dying the slow death, in daily and constant pains, bedridden and no outside aid coming to the rescue of hapless family members

“My father is 89 and my mother is 86.

My father health has been deteriorating fast in the last couple of years. What started as a pneumonia, Not taken care of immediately, degenerated in a bed-ridden body living on external oxygen machine 24/24, in a country with no steady electricity. Actually, it was my dad refusing to go to the hospital until he felt totally helpless.

In this winter season, he barely uses the walker for his morning shit and he prefers to use the padding, for me to remove and clean him up. Actually, when mother had a hip surgery, she did her best to go to the WC because she could Not stand any padding: It was out of the question for pride and dignity.

By noon, father felt rather not getting up from bed, on the ground that he feels too weak and too cold to step out of his cozy bed. (We lacked central heat because we couldn’t afford the cost of mazout)

Mother is in a worse case in matter of aches and pains, but she is functional and make sure that she washes father in the morning and bring him food to bed. Not to mention changing the bed sheets every morning and all dad’s wet cloths.

The problem for mother is that father insists on Not leaving his bed after lunch on account that he feels too cold and out of power to walk to the close-by toilet for his frequent pissing sessions. And we have to wrap him with pampers till morning.

Mother has this daunting task of changing father every morning and doing at least 2 washes for the wet bed and father’s cloths, every morning, and she suffers from back pain, arthritis, and you name it. And dad plays the child game for constant attention and waking up mother at night for no valid reasons.

Mother considers that putting in 8 straight hours of work in the morning, without any break to rest, her daily job.

And everyone in the household must share with her non-stop chores. Even when she feels sick and unable to work, until she faints and drops.

Occasionally, mother sleeps in the sitting room because father makes it a point to wake her up frequently, just out of boredom and restlessness.  Eventually, she returns to sleep in the bedroom, out of compassion and duty.

Father has had no jobs for the last 40 years.

What he did when he could drive was give ride to his 6 grandchildren to school and bring them back home, and leisurely doing a few gardening…

And he was a heavy smoker since he was 14 of age, mainly smoking in the sitting room, and polluting this room, while enjoying a few glasses of whisky.

Until he started to fall down after finishing drinking. He had to quit drinking, but resumed smoking, out of total boredom and dense worries from the fast dwindling of pecuniary resources.

In many States, there are No government facilities to rescue the elderly people, not even in health insurance, or a small remittance every month...

The elderly people are in the care of the children, relatives… supposedly in the care of the community that no longer exists.

Dad has plenty of time now to dream of the time he was still able, but I guess he can focus on how to stay alive: He keeps touching the Saint icons.  For a soft departure or for exhausting mother to death?

Do you think his deep wish is to see mother passing away before he does? A senile revenge of people who revert to childhood?

Funny, every now and then father creates a tantrum to remind mother that he is the head of the family and that what he wishes must be obeyed, and bangs his walker to confirm his statement: “I want you to wrap me up now (7afdineh) and this tragic bout of energy surges at the time mother is taking a short nap from a back ache.

And when mother tells him: “I am tired. wait till I rest…” father responds: “You do it now or I’ll piss in bed...”  These kinds of reactions…

He goes: “Ya wallao? Are you kidding me? Are you sleeping? Get up now…”

He refrains Not exhibit all his pent up anger and desperation when I am around: He knows that my reactions can be worse than his, and we do have the same bad genes

I aided mother in cleaning and wrapping up dad when I was around, and dad abstained from harassing mother when he knew I was there.

It was a 24/24 job for me and mother to keep dad contended, and he wanted to eat at his routine schedule, Not a minute later, and he ate well and voraciously.

Most of the time  I had to wake up several times at night in order to go down and switch the electrical interrupter from public to private provider (and vice versa) because we could not afford an automatic interrupter that required a higher amperage. And the oxygen machine was run on electricity and dad would shout when he sensed that the machine had stopped.

A year before he passed away, he opted to be totally bedridden, kind of despairing for any recovery.

At least father managed to construct a building of 3 floors, one for each one of his children who all graduated from universities and are married with children. Except one child: I never married and have no children that I know of. And I have been now living with my elderly parents for the last 14 years.

I don’t recall ever having a chat with dad, and now he is almost deaf and he refuses to babble.

And mother’s chatting are of the most boring type with me, but very funny with others.

She regurgitates the same worries that I cannot help with, and suggestions that are too late to reverse and act upon.

Mother never cared to handle money in her life and never wrote a check.

Currently, she has to handle the few cash that she receives every now and then from her children and relative and make sure that she can buy her medicine, father’s couches, the gas canisters for cooking, bread and biscuits for dad… Nothing fancy at all.

And she declines invitations because she will have to bring a gift as custom demands, and she has to cook a few sweet dishes for the occasions… and keeps cleaning the house in the event anyone remembers suddenly to pay her visit…

I wish the visits are not set in advance by “appointment”: Mother will start cleaning and cooking a week in advance of the visit, and ends up working overtime. And I was the only one to help her with all the cleaning tasks.

I help mother in most of her chores: assistant cook, washing dishes, vacuuming, lifting “heavy” stuff that she can no longer perform, changing bed sheets, gardening, gathering vegetables and fruits, tending to the few chickens that I don’t want in the house, going on errands…

I find time to read, write, post articles on my blog, watch documentaries and non-violent good movies on cables after every one in the household is supposed to be sleeping…

Tell me. Am I talking abstract so far?

My dad suffered a mild stroke at night: he must have knew it but we didn’t. We forced him to go to the hospital, but he kept saying: I want to die at home.

In the hospital, 2 days before Christmas, dad did such a tantrum for 2 days and a night and harassed all the nurses and mother that they had to send him home.

After lunch on Christmas Eve he passed away while mother was taking her nap in the bed next to him.

My nephew checked on him and he told me that dad must have died. I approached a looking glass to check on his breathing because he was in a serene state with eyes opened.

Apparently, he wanted to ruin our celebration, or maybe send the message that he is no longer willing to ruin our lives.

Mother is Not in any good shape because of all kinds of pains and aches to the stomach, back, neck, hands, and you name it.

I took her to the hospital for a check up on a pain to her side that lingered for 2 days and kept her awake.

Two days later, mother was home with no major relief: a small cyst in her abdomen and maybe a mild thyroid deficiency.

There was nothing that can be done to elderly people, much less performing any kinds of surgeries that are Not urgent.

Two years now and mother is still suffering, especially during the cold season and lack of hot water.

She insists on waking up and working in the kitchen for a couple of hours until she barely reach the sofa and don’t move for the day and watch TV.

Frequently she keeps working and tries to keep boredom at bay until all kinds of acute pains force her to the sofa.

She barely can hear, and all she wants is someone to visit her to listen to her.

But practically nobody visits her or has the patience to talk to her or listen to her.

Mother is a rock and still functional. Her worst nightmare is to feel dependent on anyone in her daily chores.

Such a big difference between mother’s resilience and dad’s attitude to pain.

My worst nightmare is, if I have to survive as long as my parents, “How am I to spend the next 24 years, if no haphazard calamity suddenly ends my life?”

Note: Mother Julie passed away 6 years after father. She was an undaunted force to stay functional, regardless of the many kinds of pains and difficulty to express her pains…



What you miss in your mother, after she passed away?

أحنُ إلى خبز أمي وقهوةِ أمي ولمسةِ أمي
وتكبر فيَّ الطفولةُ يوماً على صدر يومِ

و أعشق عمري لأني إذا متُّ .. أخجل من دمع أمي
خذيني .. إذا عدتُ يوماً وشاحاً لهدبكْ

وغطي عظامي بعشبٍ تعمَّد من طهر كعبكْ
وشدِّي وثاقي بخصلة شعرٍ بخيطٍ يلوِّح
في ذيل ثوبك

عساني أصيرُ إلهًا .. إلهًا أصير

إذا ما لمستُ قرارة قلبك
ضعيني إذا مارجعتُ وقودا بتنور ناركْ
وحبل غسيل على سطح داركْ

لأني فقدت الوقوف بدون صلاةِ نهاركْ

هرمتُ فردّي نجوم الطفولة
حتى اشاركْ صغار العصافير
درب الرجوع لعُشِّ إنتظارك ..•~

محمود درويش : الأسطورة

My adventure to secure 3 units of blood AB-negative to mother in a second class hospital

My 90 year-old mother fell for the nth time. This time was serious: for the first time, she volunteered to ask me to be dispatched to the hospital. Every time she fell, this tough and light woman Julia managed Not to have any bone broken. Just serious bruises and black spots in many parts of her body, and pains. For days, I would cook for her and feed her in bed.

This time also, we thought Nothing of the matter. The X-rays were Not confirming 100% of any broken bone, but the  newly installed scanner at Beit Chabab did.

Mother is the type of people who refuses to piss in a diapercouche” (those Pampers kinds): she’d rather suffer all kinds of pain in order to reach the bathroom and do it properly. Actually, mother barely drinks on account she will have to go to the bathroom more frequently than necessary

The night before taking mother to the hospital, I installed a potty on a chair in her bedroom. I asked her to holler to me when she needs help. I knew that the “couche” she agreed to wear for the night, because she was in great pain, won’t do: she will try to get up herself and do piss on her own.

My hunch turned correct. The next morning she had used the potty out of the bed. With such feats, who would imagine that she has a broken bone? If it were Not for her first-time insistence of checking at the hospital, I wouldn’t have taken seriously that anything was broken. Though, I had suggested to her to have an X-ray taken anyway.

Actually, a couple of years earlier, she burned her arm, hand and chest and part of her face in the 3rd degree, and she managed for 20 minutes to clean up the kitchen before asking for help.

Mother underwent a 5-hour horror check up in the emergency room for a series of tests, X-rays, scanner, blood extraction… while vomiting from a dizzying travel in the Red Cross van. Every time she saw an equipment that she is wheeled to she gets totally upset and frightened. She was sweating, dizzy and her face pretty yellow.

The last equipment was for checking her heart condition before being taken to her room #306. It was already 9:30 pm. And Cedric showed up to give me a ride home

The operation to replace the head of the hip with a prosthetic is Not difficult and does Not require much blood transfusion, but the surgeon demanded 3 units for any eventual emergency.

We were asked to secure 3 units of Blood AB-negative for the surgery. That was news to me that the family has to go around to find these 3 units of a rare blood type: one in 10,000 donors?

And I had to caught up the cost of the prosthetic in the thousands of dollars since the insurance would Not cover these extra materials. And I had to pay in advance before the administration gives the green light for the operation. Otherwise, the operation will Not take place.

The next day, Marie, a US born and raised citizen, gave me a ride to the Red Cross center in Antelias/Rabiyat in order to bring the units. Marie had to drop her toddler to the nursery, Garderie (kindergarten) and then to the nearby center. The center had none of such kinds of blood. We called the main headquarter in Spears (Beirut), and they had none. Not even A-, B- or even O-.

Marie said: “I appreciate Lebanon system. It is an opportunity to gather friends and ask for their contribution”

We called the NGO “Donner sans compter”. They told us they will do their best to call upon their volunteers. We received no feedback from them.

We had to wreck our minds for alternative sources. I called Jeanine who works at B7aness hospital for help. Hanane posted a request on her social platform. I posted this demand on FB and Twitter. Victor also posted this request on his list of retired army officers.

Tony suggested that Victor calls the military hospital because once his late mother Therese needed urgent blood transfusion and the former army officer Victor managed to secure the required quantity from volunteered soldiers.

Jeanine called back and said she secured 2 units and they’ll be delivered at 6 pm. Fact is, Nour, Janine daughter,  who is in the headquarter administration of the Red Cross drove to the hospital and delivered 2 units of blood around 9 pm. One of the unit was dispatched from Saida. 

Meanwhile, mother was fretting and hysteric: she was denied any food and drink in the last 24 hours, on account that the surgery is very soon. Actually, mother has been forgetful in the last couple of years. And keeping her in the dark is Not an excellent method of securing her cooperation.

I went to the administration at 1 pm and told them I am taking a decision to transfer mother to another hospital. An hour later, the surgeon called me and said that the operation is scheduled for 2 pm.

The night before the surgery, she woke up at 3 am, sat up, removed all the tubes and syringes, dangled her feet from the bed and waked to the bathroom. After a while, the night guard saw blood all over the room and the bed. They had to tie her up.

After her surgery and waking up from the local anesthesia, mother did it again, and twice within an hour: her eccentric behavior forced her to remove whatever were attaching her to the bed and dangled her feet, and blood running every-which way. And she did it again after things were cleaned up before the Chieftain called me at home, angrily telling me: “We are unable to manage your mother”. And I am thinking: “If an entire hospital is unable to care for a patient after surgery, how am I to care for her when she is back home?”

My conjecture is that Mother antics of constantly trying to stand up before going to the hospital exacerbated a tiny fissure, and made it “observable” with the scanner. Someone said we should have asked for a second opinion. Sure, he is Not the one doing the calling for the Red Cross ambulance and transferring mother to various hospitals for confirmation.

This time around the nurses figured out to tie her wrist to the bed guards, with about 15 cm leeway for mother to move her arms without being able to remove any tube and sit up, instead of wrapping her hands in a boxing fashion. She kept telling the nurses that she has arthritis and her fingers hurt her when wrapped this fashion. I guess they thought she had lost it and there was no need to take her observations seriously.

I explained to mother: You don’t have to go to the bathroom. anymore or have to suffer a couche. After surgery they insert a tube for pissing in a bag. Your behavior is normal after anesthesia since it take a while to recover your normal reflection. And she said: Why didn’t they explain all that to me?

All that time mother was in a limbo and unaware of what was happening and nobody cared to explain anything to her.

The morning after the surgery, the nurses wheeled her to the ground floor for another X-ray to check on the prosthetic status, then they infused a unit of blood and performed many task on mother, without even caring to explain to her every step of what she should expect and why?

Since no one of her relatives was there, mother felt totally disoriented and abandoned and she cried non stop for hours. A couple of visitors showed up around 9:30 am and found her sleeping out of exhaustion.

Apparently, “second class” hospitals, which don’t have the backing of serious health institutions, delay Non-urgent surgeries so that the family of the patient do “the due diligence” in securing the flow of fresh blood to replenish depleted reserves in blood.

Two main institutions in Lebanon can fresh blood supply to hospitals: The army (if connected) and the hospital of “Rasoul A3zam” of Hezbollah. This is a great means to indirectly financially support the resistance forces.

People think that since you live in a catastrophic environment (and also caring for the eldest members in the family), it is your duty to resume this untenable life.

I spent my birthday in the hospital by mother after her surgery. A few visitors demanded that I sleep over the night there to tend to the “dangerous” eccentricities of mother. I refused. They blamed me.

The last of mother’s visitors in the hospital left at 9:00 pm. He said he no longer lives in Konetra where I live. Those who promised to return and pick me up did’t show up. My calls to a couple of Taxis didn’t respond to my call. I walked home, as usual.

Last night at 9:30 pm, I had to walk home from the hospital, about 70 minutes walking at my slow pace. The weather was fresh, but I managed a sweat after all. Someone asked me what I have in my backpack. I replied “Delivery”.

Someone had asked me: Why you didn’t dispatch your mother to a more professional hospital, such as Bhaness, 12 km away. And I’m thinking: and return walking at home from there?

Why most elder people, reacting to local anesthesia after a surgery, need to take off their hospital gown and every syringes attached to their body? They wouldn’t mind removing their skin too.

On se croit plus intelligent quand on devient malade? Do you think sick people, and the terminally ill, exhibit more reflective opinions that are confused with increased intelligence?

Not when you are 90 and physicians and nurses think they don’t need to explain anything to the hapless patients, since they are the professionals and they treating a disease, Not a person.

Note 1: Mother is schedules to vacate this Tuesday and she will be on my sole care. Trying to convince the surgeon to extend her stay so that mother may get the proper training and some physiotherapy. Mother hates sports, and some sport in the hospital will go a long way.

Note 2: Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The hospital claims it has no vacancies to retain mother for a week in order to rehabilitate her. She barely was made to walk a few steps on a walker. Wish me all the luck on my accelerated training in handling mother at home

Note 3: Things are under control, except at night. Mother wake up totally disoriented and try to go the bathroom around 11 pm. She hobbled around the bed, removed her diaper  and fell on the bed weeping from pain and helplessness. I had to keep the light in her bedroom, change her diaper against her will and let her empty her bag of  bitterness.

Note 4: I don’t want a nurse for mother. or around mother. I want a listening ear to mother’s lucubration and divagation. A person with a genuine smiling face who refrain from constantly trying to comprehend what mother is trying to say. Someone who can recount one of the  “mousalsal Ramadani“. Just for a couple of hours in the morning. And occasionally to change her diaper when mother is fretting.

Note 5: Excellent. Two victories for Julia today, Saturday June 2. She used the walker twice today. Used two versions of potty in the bathroom: The elevated fixed one and the one with a void moving chair. She watched a theater of Fairouz on TV. I handed her a batch of bakdounes (parsley for preparing tabouli) to retrieve. She refused on excuse of her hands. I said what your hands have to do with your hips? She did retrieve some, but felt kind of dizzy.


My Mother is enjoying a 5-Stars services at home (Short story)

A couple of days after dad passed away and we buried him and received the marathon town condolescence, mother got up early in the morning and fell.

No bones were broken, but she has been almost bedridden for 3 weeks now and barely uses the walker a couple of times per day to walk a few feet to the WC, for the bigger need.

She said that the pain is behind the knee, a tad lower.

This 85 year-old woman suffering from arthritis used to work in the kitchen for 6 hours straight, even when her back was aching, is in bed and being served.

This 85 year-old woman who thought it was her responsibility to cook for two large families is in need for someone else to cook for her and serve her.

This 85 year-old woman who cared for my bedridden dad for 3 years just waited for father to pass away in order to crawl in bed and be served.

In order to be certain that no bones were broken, we carried her down on a chair and whisked her to the hospital. The bone physician did an X-ray and declared that no bones are broken and ordered strong Panadol for the leg joints.

So why mother is still aching and barely able to walk with a walker?

A week ago, mother was feeling better and decided at my instigation to sleep again in her bed (my parents bedroom) instead of the living room. The next morning, mother declared she heard something snapping behind her left knee and decided that she should feel pain. Now the pain is in her calf.

Mother is back sleeping in the living room and denying me the joy of watching cables till 2 am, as I used to do.

I serve mother 3 meals and two snacks each day.

Around 6 pm, mother got the habit of asking me: “What’s the menu for supper?”

She has a few restrictions:

1. No serving from the dish she ate at lunch

2. No serving from dishes she ate yesterday: Her stomach is sensitive for leftover

3. Avocado has to come with ail and lemon juice

4. Almost everything has to taste salty

5. She has a sweet tooth too and needs desert

6. She prefers what kids love to eat such as salty crackers, peanuts, French fries…

7. She needs an orange in the afternoon: Her throat feels dry

8. She demands her cup of Turkish coffee in the morning and very hot

9. I make sure mother has a assortment of vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, lettuce…

10. Boiled vegetables have to be cooked as hot soup

Mother was never a big eater, but she is enjoying the varied services.

Mother was never a big eater, but she indulged during events, tasting every dish as professional cooks do, particularly the sweet dishes and cakes.

And she never gained a pound: she is almost a skeletal now and much shorter.

My sister living on the third floor has become an excellent cook, particularly on events where guests are to eat at her house. Normally, my sister didn’t care to cook every day, following her kids taste for ready-made nuggets, hamburger, French fries, and plenty of ketchup and mustard and…

In the last 3 weeks, my sister has been back at cooking every day, and diversifying according to mother taste and wishes. I do eat every thing and don’t fuss, which save me the toil of learning to cook.

I have to do the dishes, wash the cloths, mop the floor, vacuum, clean whatever needs to be cleaned and take care of the house. Among other tasks, such as caring for the garden, reading, writing, publishing, and going after official documents…


Introspection: Mother Julia, and aunts

Julia, my mother

When single, mother (Julia) lived with three other sisters, alone in her home for several years: Her mother Eugenia left in 1939 to join her husband Tanios in the town of Segou (In current Rep. of Mali in Africa).  The four sisters were to join an intern school, but the WWII started and they had to skip school for the duration. 

My eldest aunt Josephine was 13 and mother was11 year-old at the time.  One of mother’s aunt (they were many) and her extended family lived across the street for the duration of the war. When Josephine eloped (got married “khatifeh”) at the age of 20 with late Asaad Ghoussoub, the other three sisters were interned in a school in Beit Chabab for two years.  The story goes that Asaad threatened to jump off the roof of the house if the wedding is not “facilitated”. Aunt Josephine had a harsh life: She had six kids who were raised mostly in Beit Chabab, in intern schools. I attended the male intern school of Beit Chabab for six years while my parents were doing commerce in Africa.

In the meanwhile, my grandmother Eugenia gave birth to many other children in Segou and at least three died in child birth or shortly after.  

Mother told me that she had scabies “jarab” at age 18, when she was in a girls’ school in Beirut.  This story came about when her niece Joanna called from London saying that her physician was uncertain about his diagnosis of her catching “jarab” as sign of the rash in her body after a trip to a British shore; the diagnosis turned out to be wrong. 

Mother said that “jarab” starts in the hand and is very itchy and very contagious; she secretly spent an entire week in an upper room at her sister Josephine’s who got married recently.  Mother said that nobody in the village knew about her ailment, a convenient assumption for this dreaded disease at the period, and she washed her clothes and bedding everyday.  

I really have no idea what mother learned in school, except cutting patrons and learning sewing and fashioning clothes. She always said that she got dizzy when reading. Nowadays, a girl of 18 is already in universities but the sisters did not attend school for 3 years during the WWII, because all schools closed, although our district in Lebanon was not directly affected.

Aunt Therese

I do not recall seeing my folks reading a book; dad read dailies and lately, when I specifically borrowed books for him.  Thus, we never had a library except what my Aunt Therese bought for me when I was a kid, because I was a voracious reader and still am; the books were French since Therese could not read Arabic. 

Aunt Therese was still single and lived with us in the apartment on General Chehab Street.  Therese could barely speak Arabic because her education was French.  Therese was patience incarnates (externally), teaching me my homeworks that were in French, like French history, French geography and plenty of “dictees” (French spelling). She used to take us to movies like “The sound of music” or “Doctor Zevago” or other French movies. 

Therese used to join mother on purchasing expeditions for the shop dad ran in Ain Rumani (three miles away from home).  She had many suitors who used to take the whole family out.  One suitor used to get drunk and sing and recite Arab poems:  These behaviors (of too much Arabic poetry) didn’t rime with Therese.  She finally eloped with Edward Fakhoury on the night that my cousin Aida Ghoussoub was consecrated nun. 

Edward was usually served whiskey by dad as he assiduously visited Therese.  Edward barely touched the glass; dad was under the impression that Edward does not indulge in alcoholic drinks, until we found out, after the wedding that Edward loved “arak”.  Therese spent the best years of marriage life preparing the “mezzeh or Taska” to Edward after a day work.  These sessions of slow nibling on a variety of dishes while drinking arak lasted for hours.

Thus, Therese married and has two daughters and two sons and grand children.  All her children got married except the youngest son.    

Most of my library was burned by my parents when I was away in the USA, even the benign French collections of “Livre rose” and “livre vert”….  My parents were apprehensive because the civil war targeted suspicious individuals who read specific ideological manuscripts.  There was this potential that the books may contain political and ideological lines not appropriate for the location and place of the strongest militias on the ground.  

Not an artistic family

We are not an artistic family by any stretch of the imagination; no singing, no dancing, no music, no laughing… Mother learned to cut “patrons” at school and was the designated sister in her large family who fashioned and sewed clothes to her remaining six other sisters, and their kids later on. Actually, in our larger families I cannot single out a member whom I could select as artistic, except maybe Bernard who sculpted on wood and later on stone and marble.

The new generation is leaning heavily toward the new major of graphic design, which didn’t exist in our time, because basically personal computer didn’t exist or was not powerful enough for the requirements of that discipline.

I do not recall that I ever communicated with my parents, not around the eating tables or anywhere else for that matter.  Dad never shared his plans or any anecdotes with us, though he was voluble when in a gathering of adults.  Mother also is voluble in gatherings, but mostly at our expense, on account of our limitations and asocial behavior. 

Our crude verbal outbursts are symptoms of our lack of verbal skills and weak initiation to talking and expressing our feelings: We, the kids, were not permitted to join the adults when they were paying us visits. No wonder that the atmosphere at home is not that cheerful and we ended up, my younger brother, sister and I, dumb socially and never succeeded in being social and interacting like normal people.

I joined many bus trips with acquaintances in the village, of the same age range, during summer vacations, but I didn’t join in the singing or dancing or conversing or attempting making close friends, simply because I didn’t know how, and was not prompted intelligently and skillfully to befriend others.




November 2022

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