Listen to “From the Kitchen, A Family Farewell for My Father”
Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. –Kahlil Gibran
(Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads, and all that they mean to us! Tune in here to listen to my essay on the last weeks of my father’s life, which was aired yesterday on WKAR, Michigan State University Public Radio).
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When we lose our Fathers, our world as we knew it comes to an end. Another story shared, not only in words but in the thoughts and feelings of all of us Daddy’s Girls. Love you, Maureen. Any more, there is no such thing as a “Happy Father’s Day” for us.
On your farewell to your father you should go back to the roots of Lebanese food and make (Arrous Kafta) with the Lebanese bread and homos plus sliced raw onion with sprinkled sumac as a sandwich with kabbis.
Dad, I know you are always with me
Oh Maureen, listening to you reflect on the dying days of your father made me remember the last week of my dad’s life. Thank you for the beautiful words you used in talking about how your family (and food) made your dad’s last days special. My dad died on March 21, 2011 (the first day of Spring). With spring comes new life….my dad began his new life with our Heavenly Father on that day.
What a beautiful thing about your father, spring, and new life. Thank you so much for sharing.
A lovely reminiscence, thank you. And the Gibran poem is a great reminder that, if we are lucky we will experience great joy and great sorrow, great love and great loss in our lives and that all are part of a full life. Along with great Lebanese cooking, of course.
Beautiful, thank you Alfred.
I hope you don’t mind that I posted the essay on my facebook with full credit and your web site. It makes me cry every time I read it. Food, special food, was what made us different from all of our neighbors. Everything about our history was passed down in that special food. I’ve asked family for recipes so many times but they say there are none. It has to be learned and remembered as one watches the elders cook.
That is why I’m so glad I’ve found your site. At least I have a starting out point in which to recover some of those memories.
Perfectly said, Roger, how touching. Thank you.
Having just visited lebanon for a cousin’s wedding, I thought of your stories every time I sat with my uncles at meal time and appreciated it more since reading your posts. It’s always sad when the time comes to leave. It seems that joy and sorrow are with us as Gibran writes
Lucky you, Paul, for your recent visit to Lebanon, and I’m honored to have been with you in spirit!
Very nice and memorable Maureen, thank you.
As always you have jogged my memory, especially with the meals together.
I will try to keep it short.
My paternal grandparents often had us over for food, this time was on the back porch, I forget which holiday it was. The porch was an addition that was long enough to seat everyone. The porch door led into the kitchen. We were all sitting and preparing to eat while my uncle Joe was moving around serving food the way the women normally did. He was bragging that the women, this time, should sit down and eat while he served the food. After a few passes in and out of the kitchen, serving a lot of food, he started to snitch and eat a bit of food here and there and said “no need to sit down, I can serve and eat on the run”. My grandfather, without a trace of a smile, uttered something in Arabic and everyone laughed out loud. I didn’t understand and asked what he said. They told me that grandfather had said “he can’t sit down”. I still didn’t understand the joke! Further explanations revealed that Uncle Joe had just had a hemorrhoid operation. I was too young and still didn’t understand, but I do now! 🙂 Grandfather had a very dry sense of humor!
Love and prayers to you, your father and whole family.
Your love for your father is beautiful to behold.