Saturday, April 22, 2006

Email of February 20, 2006-04-22
Subject: Sami’s Funeral

Thanks, Michelle, for your kind words. The past ten days since I took Sami to the hospital have been a whirl ofconflicting emotions with no time for answering many emails. I'm in Amman, Jordan now with Sami's older brother's family. Muslim funerals are never ending affairs.

He was buried on Friday and a family recepton followed that lasted until after 7:00 pm and then resumed the next morning until late that evening. Hundreds of people came each day. The family is well known and he belonged to two tribes, both his mother's and his father's. The tribes are really just large extended families. I thought by coming here to Amman to renew my visa I would escape some of the people who come to extend their condolences, but it resumed last night here in Amman. I remember that in my father's generation the men rose to greet women when one entered a room. Here everyone rises to greet each visitor. I began to feel like a piece of popcorn. Then the visitor ceremoniously kisses both your cheeks and murmurs words of sympathy. The village women tell me how good I am in brokenEnglsh. I was uncomfortable with that. I was a bit ofa brat as a child, talking too much in class andsurpassing the boys in playing jokes on others so Idon't think of myself as "good".

There must have been 50 who showed up here in Amman.Many of them spoke English so I wasn't so bored as inPalestine. The receptions last three days so when I return to the West Bank tomorrow they will be finished, Ithink. I hope.

The customs are similar to the social guidelines formourning that were practiced in Europe and Americaduring past centuries. I was still married to Sami according to "Sharia", Muslim law, so I'm treated with all the courtesy and restrictions of a grieving widow. I have to wear black for awhile. When the family discovered the only coat I had with me was a flaming red one they scurried around finding a proper black coat I could borrow to wear to my late father-in-laws house where the funeral and receptions were held. VIPs from the region attended. Sami was buried near the house alongside his parents and his brother.

Aysha is his grandniece, about nine years old. Not wanting to miss anything, she was desperate to attend the funeral. Once she understood from her father that she would not be allowed to attend she said to him, "May it snow tomorrow and a fire break out, and ruin all your plans." Her father smiled indulgently and ignored that. Her mother relented on the evening of the second day and let her come. After seeing the four graves, she told her mother, "You are burying so many people there won't be room for me." I told her my sons and I own a large burial plot in Virginia and we'll let her be buried there. My son, Adam, suggested to her that perhaps we should dig the holes deeper and bury them standing up so there would be more space for her. It was nice to have a laugh in the midst of all the sadness.

Michelle, I will look for the prettiest table cloth I can find. They are very colorful so is there any particular color you would like? They also create beautiful toss pillows. Again what color would you choose? I'm not sure about the cost here. I know they sell for about $45. each in the states. I plan to remain here until early May when I'm scheduled to fly back on my return airfare. My twos ons are here for three weeks.


Michelle wrote:
Dear Bronwin,
I am sorry for your family's loss, but I have been inspired by your compassion and kindness. Sami was a fortunate man that your caring followed him as far as it could in the mysterious transition that is death.

On your return, I would like to offer some attentive listening time, if that would be good for you - time to share your own experience of this deeply important time in your life. It would be a gift to me as well.

On a personal note, if you would have time to choose some Palestinian embroidery - I would be thrilled to buy it from you. Perhaps a table cloth? I would gladly spend up to $50 for whatever you find of interest. I suspect other people in the meeting would be interested as well. I have not yet sold the other things you left, so perhaps they can be combined. I heard a wonderful concert with Nadia Dosky last night, raising money for the Palestinian Youth Orchestra. It was a fine concert by Middle Eastern musicians.

Love and Light to you and yours,


Post a Comment

<< Home