The Final Stage of Grief
I am there now. But the truth is, the stages of Grief are endless. There was never really any direction of Baba Eldawi other than to commemorate my father. The beautiful part about it all is that he saw the site’s roots. He was alive when I posted my first few articles, Mama: The Backbone of the Eldawi Family and The First Doc Appointment: The Death Sentence. This will be my final chapter of the blog. I’m treating this as my toast to Baba and a huge thank you to my readers. In my head, I am giving a long overdue eulogy to my Dad. I never gave one. But here it is. With a spin, however. A version 2-years-later.
What a journey it was. I can remember shedding so many tears when I wrote the first article after his death. It was the most painful experience ever. But to me, that is when one writes the best. When one enters that uncharted territory of intense emotions. The website grew gradually and beautifully. Of course there were backlashes. For example, my older brother thought it was too revealing of our family.
My mentor, Mason Richards, a Professor at Emerson College & talented Director, told me once “when a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. To a debatable extent, I did sacrifice my family’s privacy. However for the betterment of the next person who would go through a similar journey. That was and will always be the core of the blog. I had a few friends ask me where the blog would go. Of course, I would try to say something impressive like a book, maybe a short film, or even a full-blown movie. Truth be told, I never knew. It was fun having a solid inclination to write about a topic that I seldom saw on the internet. The responses I would receive from friends, family and my favorite, people who I’ve never met (I will not call them strangers because they have a close place in my heart as well). Over the course of the last two years of blogging, I received plenty of messages from people who randomly stumbled upon my blog because they heard from a friend of a friend who knows a sister who went to school with her cousin in my high school. Crazy, huh? The power of a written piece can extend beyond one can foresee.
When I look back at this journey of losing my father to such an ugly disease, I think it was a gift. I mean it. Yes, no one should ever go through such pain of watching their parent die excruciatingly slow. But if you look at the small silver lining in the dark grey clouds of grief, this caused my family to grow so much closer together.
Yes, Husam I am pointing at you.
Yes, Ahmad I am also pointing at you.
And, my beautiful, sweet Mama Manal, you especially.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring the family together. We went through it together. That is a bond that is ageless. Intricately intertwined with all of life stories. We all went through it at the same time but in different paces. Some grief-ers are like Ahmad; accept it right away and at a young age. Some grief-ers are like Husam; take time to express their inner feelings but overcome it in their own pace. Some grief-ers are like Manal; experience the most excruciating pain of watching their loved one fade away so slowly. And some grief-ers are like me; create a blog exposing their whole family. I kid of course. Some grief-ers are like this; deal with intense feelings of guilt and nostalgia that can be crippling at times but decide to hide it with a smile. Some would say some people feel like that without having to go through grief. I would say, it is all a mask. We all wear masks to cover our inner-pain. It is not as cool as talking about the weather, a sports game, what you’re going to wear at next week’s Halloween party. It is so hard being vulnerable. It's like being naked, but with your feelings. Especially for a man. Being vulnerable is like showing the direction to the exact part of your heart that would hurt most. On the other hand, being vulnerable to those you trust is like taking a walk in the museum of your heart.
I digress, as usual, but I come back to the main topic. Baba. What a man. What a guy. What a father full of charisma and pride for his country. This man would talk about Sudan like he was selling you a tourism travel package. His illness was just something else. He spoke through a special computer that had a cool British accent and eye recognition. I would watch him read, create, and edit Excel spreadsheets for his own company. He would create formulas, save documents as PDFs and send over financial updates to his investors via email and WhatsApp. All with just his eyes. I try to remember his resiliency whenever I get caught on my own issues. What a brilliant man he was.
I already shed a tear or two (who’s counting) writing this so far because it really is the final chapter. I have learned so much about my father, my family and you all through this lovely journey. Thank you to all of you who decided to follow the Instagram page, listen to the podcast, and send me a thoughtful message. I truly appreciate all of you checking on me here and there. I didn't even expect that… at all. It truly helped heal the void in my heart. That is what the blog did. I am beyond fanatic that it grew from a blog to an instagram page to being invited to a podcast. That is when I truly felt I have taken this journey as far as I could. What a gift it is to boast about my father on a Spotify podcast that will be on the internet... forever. Thank you to Callsuma, the podcast creator & host of Bereavement Room. What a joy it was to connect on such a sour topic with so many laughs.
Just before I bow and close the curtains on the Baba Eldawi blog, I would like to share this aha moment I had with Jason, my best friend and Editor. It was when I was writing that article (When My Dad Passed Away…) right after it happened. As I was writing that article, I asked myself, “why share all this?!” It still hurts for me. It was about a few months after he passed away and here I am.. Blogging. I decided to ring up my Jason and confide with him on the issue. What he told me stuck by me forever.
“The blog was never meant for anyone but you.”
That is when I remembered that in order to help another, let them see my honest journey. The more vulnerable and raw I am, the easier it is for someone else to understand. The writing helped me feel less alone. Less sad. And more me. I can comfortably say, I am at that final stage of Grief.
That does not mean I will forget you, Baba. Oh, no, no, no. It means I will cherish your memory with more sunlight. I will continue to live out your legacy. I will continue to wonder where the hell you are and miss you dearly. However, I accept where I am today and where I will be tomorrow. I accept that you are somewhere else. Hopefully, somewhere with unlimited shisha and coffee. That sounds like a heaven just for you.
You also deserve acceptance.