To my grandfather baba Hassan who passed away all of a sudden last week..

My very dear grandfather baba Hassan:

Its been a week since you left, and we still find it hard to accept the fact that your gone. I cant imagine going to your house and not seeing you on that chair complaining about not seeing enough of me every time you see me: “wainech entey? min zeman machefnach, matyeena”..

The day you left was a perfect day, it was too perfect that I was certain something bad was going to happen by the end of it. We were all spending the holiday in Qatar. And I was talking to Lulu about you while having breakfast that very same day. I was telling her about my childhood years when I used to spend the whole summer at your house. I used to wake up at 7 am to find breakfast ready in the kitchen, your famous eggs and a big thermos of tea with milk. I remember all the details; the display of the mugs, upside down on a round metal tray covered with a towel, your brown radio, the taste of the eggs, the smell of the “kamach” , the sounds of your chirping birds that you used to pet and keep in huge cages in the backyard.

I will never forget our last meeting as long as I live. I came to you and kissed you, something that I don’t usually do. And you welcomed me very warmly as I hadn’t seen you for a whole month before that. You asked where I’d been all this time, and you asked about my lost suitcase. I told you how busy I had been and that I had completely emptied my schedule that day just to spend the day at your house. You were very happy and glad to hear that. You then asked me to go and check out your new car, I was heading outside to see it but you said: “Don’t go outside, its cold, just look at it from the window.”

I’m sorry that I couldn’t come to the graveyard to say goodbye. I didn’t want that last meeting I just told you about to be replaced with another one where I would see you but you wouldn’t see me, or I’d talk and you wouldn’t listen. But I heard that your face was more beautiful than ever, and that you were smiling. They said that the graveyard was so crowded of men who were racing to carry your body to the grave. And that the moment they buried you, a huge flock of pigeons flew all over your grave. Which can only be explained with your passion for birds.

People from all over the country came to us crying; men & women, young & old, rich & poor. Your warm heart that welcomed everyone made them all mourn your death.

I’m very proud to be your eldest granddaughter, I always loved the fact that I was the one who made you a grandfather. You left and left behind so many special memories that I will always treasure. We’ll all miss you, and miss your presence on our weekly Friday night gatherings.

May you rest in peace,
Your daughter,
Nazli Tawfeeqi
28/1/2008

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