Saturday, May 11, 2013

One In A Million

On May 12th, 1994 I lost my father to Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in a London Hospital after a long and painful struggle with this illness. The doctors who diagnosed him in 1983, in Cleveland Hospital had predicted for him to live 4-7 years, but my father was a warrior and survived for 11 years.
Although it has been 19 years, the pain of losing him is very much felt. Every year around this time, I struggle to remember the exact day we lost him, as if my brain wants to erase that day. He is very present in my life and every time I look at my kids, I wish they had the chance to meet their grandfather and know for themselves what a great and loving person he was.

My father was a great dad and I never got to thank him for the many things he did for us. So I am writing this post to list some of the things I want to thank him for.

Thank you dad for being a kind loving father and for teaching us what love and affection meant by expressing to us almost daily how much you loved us. Thank you for teaching us what compassion and humbleness meant by helping others and being simple and down to earth no matter what your status was. Thank you for teaching us to stand for what is right no matter what the consequences were by criticizing what is wrong and telling it to their faces.

Thank you for investing in our education, not only by sending us to the best schools but by teaching us to appreciate education by telling us how you struggled to attain yours. Thank you for making us love Arabic through the poetry you wrote and reading to us those written by others. Although we were in foreign countries and American schools you insisted we have Arabic tutors and in college you filled our summers with articles to translate from the Herald Tribune and Newsweek. We hated it then but appreciate it and are grateful for it now. Thank you for raising us as Arabs in the Western societies we lived in and as Muslims without telling us what sect we belong to.

Thank you for making us love our country by keeping us connected and sending us back home every summer and for insisting we have no househelp, so we can learn house hold duties and responsibility. Thank you for making us love to travel and explore the world by flying us to different countries and cities and for allowing us to go on school trips.

Thank you for being a progressive man in a conservative society and not giving in to the pressure of your uncles and cousins who demanded you make us wear a sharshaf and cover our faces when we returned to live in Yemen. We wore a coat instead and covered our hair, you didn't even make my mother wear the sharshaf. Thank you for being proud of having three girls in a patriarcal society and not making us feel inferior and for teaching my elder sister  how to drive. She was one of the first few females to drive in Yemen back in the early 80's. It was phenomena in the North, especially in our home town in Dhamar. Thank you for raising us well and giving us the confidence and strength to face the world. We were so lucky and proud to have a father like you. Dad, you are one in a million.

No amount of words can express to you how thankful I am. Thank you for everything. I miss you so much.

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  1. الله عليك وعلئ احساسك وطيبتك، ربتاء يرحمة ويغفر له ويحعل مثواه الجنة.