Monday, May 26, 2008

One wedding and a funeral

On Saturday we attended the wedding of my cousin Kirralee (“Lil”) held on the beach at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. The weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding and it was a great opportunity to catch up with my parents and brother, some of my uncles and aunts and my New Zealand-based cousins. I like to think of myself as a fairly practical person but I like the big rituals; they generally emphasise the very best in human nature.

Unfortunately towards the end of the reception I received one of those phone calls that everyone dreads–news that my father-in-law Youssef Matta had suffered a heart attack and with no warning and no reprieve was taken from us. Telling my wife that she had lost her beloved father was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Now we’re making the long journey with heavy hearts from Brisbane to Beirut for the funeral.

In the twenty plus years I knew him my initial feelings of intimidation became love, and for my wife, to whom family is everything, he was a central figure in her life. Fortunately we had the opportunity to spend a week with him in Beirut in October last year and my wife visited him again in January.

As sad as I feel, the hardest part of this is knowing how deeply my darling wife Marie feels the loss and being able to do nothing to ease her suffering apart from simply being there. We have a difficult process to go through in the next few days with the funeral and associated Middle Eastern mourning rituals. Then, as they say, life goes on. But when you lose a loved one it will never be quite the same.


Carolyn Swalwell said...

Lovely to read your sentiments Dan. My thoughts are with you all. Please pass on a message to my darling Ramzi; Owen called and sends his condolences to the family. Take care all of you, love Carolyn

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan & Marie, Just read your blog and wanted to say how sorry I was to read about Marie's Dad. Having lost my own dear Mum not long ago I know that there is nothing anyone can say except to tell you I am thinking of you at this difficult time. Remember the special moments and memories of the times you spent together because these will be in your heart today and forevermore.

Love Shirl (in Australia)