Almost a year ago I wrote:
Last Saturday afternoon I accompanied my daughter to a book sale in Montreal. The sale was organized by the Friends of the Library. The place was not very far from our home and easy to locate. Inside the arena where the sale was taking place there was already a significant crowd by the time we reached. And rows and rows of books, in both French and English. My French unfortunately being poor, I walked over to the English section. Books were arranged on tables sideways, so it made it easy to read the title and the author’s name. They had books from the old masters as well as the latest bestsellers. Hence I indulged myself in the process of choosing what I thought were good books for me to read. I put the books written by authors I liked into empty cardboard boxes placed underneath the tables. Books written by authors whose names I hadn’t even heard of I had to check first to see if their story was to my liking.
After only a short time I noticed that people were, like me, scanning the jackets and only afterwards either returning the book back to the table or placing it in their boxes. It dawned on me there and then that people only chose what books to read based on the stories.
Yesterday I set out on the same trip again. And once more I went with my daughter to the sale. The book sale was held at the exact same location as last year, but unlike last year the trip was a sad one to undertake. Since we went there without my husband. Throughout the drive I remembered all the things we had done and all the things we had said on our way in the car. And yesterday when I parked the car in front of the arena my daughter said, “This is exactly where dad parked the car last year mom.”
As I entered the place a terrible sense of loss overcame me. See, my husband was passionate about books in the same way I am. He never missed a book sale. And no matter where we were, whether in Lebanon, Dubai, Rome, Venice, Paris, Hong Kong, Australia, New York, Memphis, Los Angeles, or Montreal, we never missed going to bookstores and book sales. And at book sales, we each took a basket and filled it with whatever books we liked. My kids used to joke and say, “How come dad always ends up with the best books in his basket?”
And on days like yesterday I miss him more than ever. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote:
“Death is but a transition from this life to another existence where there is no more pain or anguish.”
That knowledge helps me. To know that he is no longer in pain and is not suffering. Yesterday while browsing through the books I felt him beside me. I heard his voice in my ears. It was as if he was pointing out to me the books that he knew I would love to have and read, since yesterday was the only time that I put the books in my basket without reading the jackets to find out more about the stories. And when we came home and my daughter went through them, she said, “Mom, you got some nice books here.”
I said, “I know,” and I smiled. The same way I know that the only thing that really lasts forever is love. I will miss so much the love I had, the life I had with him. I will always love him and forever miss him. But I also believe that he is with me, laughing with me and smiling at me as I hear him say, “It’s okay, I’m here.”