Leap! Blog

Loss and Celebration of Life

My grand-mother passed away last month and I couldn’t be there for her funeral. I have cried a lot and mourned her but still feel that somewhere in my mind her passing is just an idea because I haven’t physically experienced it yet. It’s amazing how I still remember her every day as if she was alive and I need to make an effort to remember that she is no longer with us. A part of me wants to ask how she is… but another part of me knows that she no longer is…
When I received the news my heart filled with so much sadness and my only source of comfort and joy was my 2- year old son. This was to me a perfect representation of our journey in life. We’re born, we live, we have children of our own, they grow up and have children of their own, we get old and we die. So there’s a part of our passage that we can’t control, our birth and our death but it is entirely up to us what we do with our journey in between. 
I know my grand mother is physically gone but I also know that the memories I have shared with her will live in my heart forever. I have decided that the best way to honour my grand mother’s memory is to celebrate her life. There are so many questions that I wish I had asked her but there are painful memories that I didn’t wish for her to remember like the Palestinian diaspora in 1948 and how she was forced to leave her home empty handed and fled the country with a small boy not even knowing where her husband, my grand father was. What courage and what determination to hang on to life in spite of everything! 
I still remember her smell, she always wore the same perfume and always made sure she looked her best especially when she was going to church on a Sunday. The pearl earrings, the lipstick, the shoes, the matching handbag and even the gloves! She loved music and God did she enjoy my dancing! She was one of the rare granmas who really encouraged loud music and fun. I can see her watching me with her loving and proud eyes and clapping to the beat of the song that I would be playing in the living room. 
I know I had a special place in her heart. Sometimes she made me believe that the sun really shone through my eyes and I’m the best grand daughter on the planet! I used to love spending my summer vacations with her so much pampering and so much love. I just loved her cooking, she knew my favourite foods and made sure she had them all ready for me upon my arrival. 
From the biggest things she taught me to the simplest things, I know that a lot of her still lives in me.
I love the way that hand creams and body lotions smell because of her; I used to have afternoon tea with her every day and this is still a tradition of mine today, her cleanliness and housekeeping rules, her intellectual abilities and her love for Arabic soap operas… all of these are things I’ve inherited from her but most of all I’ve inherited her big heart, her patience and her unwavering determination. 
I guess what I’m trying to say is that life is a journey filled with moments of joy as well as moments of sadness but it is entirely up to us to decide what to do with these moments. People we love will share it with us until it’s their time to go and it is again entirely up to us to decide what to make of our relationships with them. 
Even if we can’t control the years and we will eventually get old we need to remember that we are always in the driver’s seat, even towards the very end when there aren’t enough miles left on that car we’re still driving towards a destination.

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