Abbas El-Awady

A Father’s Passing: One Year Later

It’s been a year now since my Baba departed this world into the next. Since his death, I wrote several blog posts about him or with significant mention of him:

Writing about my feelings over the past year has helped me. The simple act of getting what’s on the inside to the outside is helpful, of course. But more importantly, the comments I’ve received on my posts either directly on the blog or through discussions with family and friends has helped me learn that what I’m going through is normal. I had never really seen people in mourning. Mourning is such a private thing. Too many people don’t share it, including me. I share it through my writing. But I find it extremely difficult to share it by visibly displaying it. I suppose we don’t want to burden others with our pain. Or maybe we don’t want to appear weak. Or perhaps we know that life is already hard enough for everyone; we might as well deal with our own issues internally so others can get on with their own lives and issues.

Whatever the reason, we tend not to share our mourning with others. And the result for many of us is that we don’t understand the process and we find it difficult to deal with it. This is why I’m going to continue to write about this until I feel I don’t want to anymore. Many people have arrived at my blog by doing a simple Internet search using keywords such as “father”, “death”, “passing away”, etc. This means that there are people out there that need to understand their own mourning process through learning from the experiences of others. I know that I’ve learned much from my readers’ comments. I thank them dearly.

This past year has been very difficult for me. It doesn’t seem to be getting easier. (more…)

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We Stood on the Shoulders of Our Forefathers

Below is an article that was meant to be a chapter in a book on the Arab Spring I was told would be published by Columbia University Press. The editor was asking that we write our chapters on a volunteer basis (no payment would be received in return), which I gladly did. However, sometime later, I was asked to sign a copyright statement that said, “You hereby permit the exclusive use and agree to transfer the copyright of all or portions of your material in the above-referenced Work in all forms and media (now in existence or hereafter invented) including advertising and related promotion throughout the world and in perpetuity. You hereby grant me and Columbia University Press the right to use your name, likeness and biographical details in connection with all uses of the material and you waive the right to inspect or approve such use.” It seemed completely unreasonable for me to sign away all copyrights of this piece while getting nothing in return. The editor and I were unable to reach a mutual agreement and as a result, I now post this article, written in October 2011, on my blog:

October 20, 2011. It is eight months and nine days after a very emotional day, February 11, that ended with me realizing that I had succeeded in toppling a dictator. It sounds very narcissistic, doesn’t it? “I toppled a dictator.” But I’m certain it’s the same feeling shared by millions of other Egyptians who carried their shrouds on their backs and left their homes every day between January 25 and February 11 with a determination they had not known before to change their country for the better. (more…)

A Daughter’s Pain in Losing Her Father

I had a dream last night. I was missing my Baba so much that I somehow managed to get into his grave to lie down next to him. Graves in Egypt are small underground rooms. The grave door was open and sunlight was shining through. It felt nice to lie down next to him. I felt safe. As I was lying there, my Baba started to stir. He slowly opened his eyes. He was awake! I was so overjoyed. I remember feeling in the dream that the nightmare of his death was finally over. He was back as he should be. I quickly called my brothers and sister to come. Baba was awake!

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