I was living in Egypt when my oldest Uncle who lived in Tripoli, Libya passed away two years ago. He was in a a car accident that left him paralyzed and ultimately ended his life. I was deeply saddened by the news and somewhat in denial. Processing his death meant I would have to access feelings about my own time spent in Libya and I wasn’t prepared to do that at the time. My instinct reaction was to call his wife and give my condolences and then act like nothing had happened.
My family and I lived with him and his family for nearly a year in the mid 90s. It was a difficult time for me because I was learning Libyan (a second language to me) and adjusting to the culture. I studied at Tripoli College for 8 months and hated it. I wanted to go back to America where I felt much more at home.
Last night I thought of my uncle and shed tears that were previously blocked by confusion and pain two years ago. I’m still saddened by his death, but I take comfort in knowing he lived a long life.
People process pain at different times and in different ways. I also cried for his family, my own experience in Libya and the shitty situation there now. It’s not often that I allow myself to access these feelings but it’s necessary to grieve for someone you love and I’m just glad I finally was able to.
My heart goes out to his family and to my father who was raised by him.