Miqdad Annab in Washington DC Sept 56

21 August, 2011

We were invited to iftar at my cousin's house tonight, and my father's long-time business associate and best friend was invited as well. As all my cousins, uncles and other members of the family sat together after eating, it was so painfully evident that there was an integral person missing from this gathering-my dad. Being there in spirit doesn't count... that's just bullshit talk for someone who's never lost anyone that means anything to them.

I can imagine that it's difficult for a lot of people to come to our house because Dad is gone, but we live and face this bitter fact every single day. Our house is strange without him, but we have him in us-so in essence he's still here.

16 August, 2011

It's hard to look at pictures of Dad these days. I still have trouble comprehending that he's gone... it just feels totally wrong-like something is off balance-it just doesn't sit right. It's coming up to a year now since he died, and there isn't an hour that passes where he doesn't pop into my head at least 10 times. Sometimes I can feel his presence and I'm certain he's around, but this phenomenon is less frequent since he came to me in a dream a while back and told me that he came to say goodbye, and that he was moving to the farm. I miss seeing him in my dreams now...Too bad we can't dream 'on demand'!

Life feels disconnected somehow. Not that Dad kept it together, but something essential is missing. Not just for me, but for most everyone that knew him. I sometimes feel lost like I'm drifting on the open sea, going nowhere in particular. There are still many conversations I wanted to have with him and I feel like a crazy person when I speak to him out loud, instead of using my 'inside voice'... I'm pretty sure he can't hear regardless of which voice I use. I guess being a crazy person at this stage is my only remedy.

13 February, 2011

The Annab Zoo!

Morning cuddle with Tee Tee as a puppy
My dad loved animals. I think there was something magical about animals as far as my dad was concerned. We used to have chickens, geese and rabbits in the back yard when we were kids-and we weren't living in the country, we lived on the outskirts of the city. Nowadays, the animal population at home has become slightly more civilized, with around 30 canary birds, and until recently, 3 dogs and a cat. On our farm in the country dad took to raising horses, sheep, pigeons, chickens, turkeys... you name it, we had! You'd think that having four wild kids would satisfy the urge to raise animals, right?! He put old McDonald to shame...

A few months before he passed away, I rescued the cutest kitten with the biggest blue eyes. This was the only cat that my father actually allowed to enter the house, let alone sleep above his head while he watched TV. Baba even took the time to give him milk in the morning, and would heat it up to get it just right. I think he was secretly pleased when I decided not to give up the kitten to the animal shelter. He always remarked how cute this cat was. So cute, in fact, that Baba actually bestowed the name of Qahir al Kilab (the dog tamer) on him because Qahir was able to stand up to three dogs, albeit one who looks a lot like a cat. Qahir went missing a couple of weeks ago. I have high hopes that he will return one day. I'm sure my father would have been very upset about losing him...
Qahir sleeping on the top of the chair, above Dad's head

Which brings me to another story about one of our pets... ChiChi our Chihuahua-Fox Terrier mix. A couple of years ago in the Summer ChiChi (also an escape artist) decided to skip the Annab compound in search of greener pastures (stupid dog didn't know that it was as green as it got at our place!!). Baba was certain that ChiChi was gone for good. He was so upset about losing her, that he didn't sleep at all the night she disappeared. Lo and behold, two weeks later, ChiChi's pictures were posted on Facebook with a 'for sale' note next to them. Baba was over the moon when he found out she was still alive and barking!! So, he gave us JD50 to give her captor for his trouble when we went to rescue her. The guy who had her was kind enough to hand her over without a fuss, and we got to keep our JD 50! Needless to say, Baba was thrilled to have his little lap warmer back by his side.

ChiChi taking an afternoon siesta in the sun
ChiChi can be quite irritating with her barking especially when the doorbell rings. She is so irritating, that my dad wanted to strangle her every time she barked. So, one day he decided to get her to quit her barking, he was going to swat her with a newspaper every time if she barked when the bell rang. So, to get her to bark he had to ring the door bell. It was the funniest thing to watch Baba ringing the doorbell, and ChiChi going nuts while he tried to grab her to swat her with the paper! What a comedic scene!!

Shadow (L) TeeTee (R)
We recently had to put our beloved dog Shadow to sleep. She was a lovely dog who was frightening to look at but a real gem on the inside. I hope she's keeping my dad company wherever they are!

03 December, 2010

There's no do-over

Those supposedly in the know claim that it gets easier to deal with losing a loved one as time moves forward; from my present and limited experience in this matter, I can safely say that they don't know shit! There's nothing easy about losing some one you love. Who said it has to be easy? Each passing day is further proof that those who die are gone for good, and there isn't a single thing you can do or say to make them come back. It's a permanent end without the possibility for a sequel.

I try to appease myself through this mess by mildly convincing myself that my dad's time was up-but I know that it didn't have to be up! If he'd just listened to his friend (a doctor) and stayed overnight in the hospital to definitively pinpoint his ailment, I wouldn't be here sharing my misery with you now. And if the medical staff at the hospital were bright enough to figure out, well, if it isn't his heart (supposedly he had the heart of a 20 year-old) then it must be something else... duh... his lungs, perhaps?! All it took was a blood test to solve Baba's riddle. But the medical staff didn't even think to perform it. I wish I could beat up every single person at that hospital for not being vigilant about saving my dad's life. This person meant something to a whole lot of people. He wasn't just any old man. He was my father, a grandfather, an uncle, a brother, and a loyal trusted, friend. Everyday I am more certain that he died in vain-he could have been saved. There is no consolation here. None whatsoever.

It was a blood clot that took his life. It started out something minuscule, and managed to knock this tower of strength to his knees right into his grave. In just 4 short days it was all over for him. That which gives life, also takes it away.

Bottom line is that I miss him more now than I ever thought possible, and I know it's not going to get any better...

12 November, 2010

Words that Inspire

I came across this poem the other day, and I felt that this is how my dad tried to live his life. It is simple and beautiful, but so difficult in practice.

Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray
for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
                                                                                                 -The Teachings of Tecumseh 

26 October, 2010

Strange Dream

I finally had a dream about my dad. It was strange, as most dreams are...

We were siting in a circular room that was all white. The sofa was white and mimicked the shape of the room. Dad didn't know where he was and why he wasn't with us anymore. He seemed alright for the most part and he looked good. What bothered him the most was that he had no explanation for what happened to him; he just couldn't figure it out, and wanted nothing more than to be back with us.

As we sat there, I showed him pictures of my uncles who had passed away before him, Amo Mazhar and Amo Radi. He recognized them, saying, "Oh, yes, he's there with me, and so is he." But he appeared indifferent because it wasn't where he wanted to be. Being with people he knew was no consolation for him. What he wanted more than anything was to be back in the land of the living. I told him it was impossible to resurrect him since it's been 40 days since he passed, and we had missed our window of opportunity. I was extremely apologetic and I told him that we wanted nothing more than to have him back with us.

I woke up with tears in my eyes.

17 October, 2010

A Really Good Guy

Today marks 1 month since our lives were permanently altered with the sudden passing of my father. It's amazing how many new things we've had to deal with in this month, how many new responsibilities we have, never realizing what a huge load my father carried. It wasn't only the moral support that we got from having my dad around, but also how easy he made our lives. He took care of just about every detail and we didn't have to worry about a thing. His solution was always a phone call away. He went above and beyond what's considered normal. He not only looked after his family, but also did what he could for those in need

A few days after he passed away, I found a note with the name of a man whose problem was outlined on this small piece of paper. It read: "Taxi driver, so and so, used to operate his taxi out of  a prominent hotel in Amman. The bell captains are now giving the Al Mumayaz Taxi preference over him, causing him financial hardship. Sunday 10:30AM." It seems that the driver had gone to my father asking if he could intervene and perhaps rectify the situation. I'm sure my father did what he could to help this guy out. That's just the type of man he was. No one deserved to suffer if there was something he could do about it.

I know what a gem of a human being my father was; I was fully aware of that even when he was alive. I hear stories everyday of his kindness and generosity and how he touched people from all walks of life. It makes me so proud to hear this, because these stories confirm what I knew all along--he was a really good guy!

I love you Dad.