Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Family

My husband lost his father on the 22nd of January. The family decided to bury him in Egypt - which was his wish.

And that is how they all came to be in Egypt. One day I may feel the need to write what that experience was like for me personally. Being alone with my son in what still feels like a foreign country - away from family and friends. Losing contact with Egypt. The endless sleepless days and nights infront of the TV. Getting back in contact etc....

Sometimes public events are so seismic in nature that one doesn't feel comfortable talking about personal experiences. The history of that period belongs to millions of people - to the whole region - and beyond. And I know that even for my husband and his family, public emotions overshadowed the private grief for a while.

For now though, it is back to earth. I know in a way, the grief has just started for them. First it was the mad rush to make arrangements for the trip and then well, a revolution.

But now they're back in the house where he died. And I am trying to be strong both for my husband - and for his mother who has lost her life partner. True, this was not a shock. My FIL has been very ill for quite a while and we've been living in daily expectation. But still, the finality of death - even without the element of surprise - is painful.

At the same time, I miss my family so much. My FIL's death was a reminder that when our parents get to this age, our time with them is limited and it feels like too long since I've last seen mine.

Family is a recurring theme in my life at the moment. Family and homeland. Egypt(my husband's homeland), Tunisia & Algeria(both my mother homelands) and to a limited extent, Morocco (my father's homeland). All these places where I have roots and family ties. I am so North African. And North Africa is where it's at right now isn't it? Our Arab Spring. Is it really finally here?

I am no longer afraid to hope that it is. And that it is almost there for Libya too. And that it will grow and spread all over the region - although not at the same price.

I had thought it would be my son's generation who would do this, that we were finished, drained, too diseased with apathy and cynicism to ever feel the idealism of revolutionaries. And maybe some of us are. Maybe I am. But I am so grateful that others apparently aren't. And that they made it possible for me to live to see this. And that our children now have a better chance and something to build on.