Sorrow is never singular. It always comes in multiples

Raed’s aunt has passed away yesterday. She had to undergo two heart operations in 4 days, and has been in intensive care since the beginning of this year. Raed used to joke about the fact that the only person in his family still interested in political action in Jordan is her, the one with the frail heart. I remember her talking of demonstrations and protests during the events in Palestine last January while the Jordanian government was threatening to use force if the protesters got near the American or Israeli embassies. Everyone in the family would jokingly tell her that if an officer so much as breathed on her she would come back home with multiple injuries.
Raed, I can’t reach you. Your cell phone has been turned off for days and you don’t answer emails. I wish I could be there with you.
Today a colleague at the office came to our house to tell us his son has died of brain hemorrhage this morning. He is one of the senior engineers; his son is two years younger than me. Because he is not Iraqi, the paper work involved in getting him out of the country is surreal. How to explain this to a mourning parent is impossible. I stayed with him the early couple of hours. While others were trying to figure out how to get the family to Jordan as fast as possible, the mother understandably doesn’t want to stay in Iraq.
There is no appropriate response when someone tells you about the death of a loved one or a family member, I stutter and stumble thru formal responses which mean nothing really.
My heart and thoughts are with you Read and your grandmother, who is the strongest amongst you, if she has held it together through all what the family has been through before so will you.

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