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To those who have lost a loved one

I wish I could hug you and take away all of your pain because I’ve gone through such a rough death recently.

But the beauty in these experiences and feeling our ways through them are realizing that we can pass along the support to someone else who may be in our place. My grandpa passed away recently. He and I were very close. He spent his life helping refugees and making a name for himself in his village in Iraq by assisting people coming to America. On countless occasions I walked into my grandparents home to meet my new “cousins” or “family.”

People I had never met.

Most I had no relation to. But respecting your elders and family is huge in my culture.

So I was off to greet them trying to guess how many kisses on each cheek was appropriate, vs getting away with a handshake. On my grandfather’s deathbed I was holding his hand and cozying up to him as I did naturally over the years... He was in a near-vegetated state, but I knew he could hear me. I told him about how I somehow, someway, (still trying to figure it out, tbh) earned a spot on a study abroad trip as a PR spokesperson for a group of 14 OU students studying international reporting and the effects of the economic and refugee crisis in Greece. At first he shoved my hand, disappointed I would leave him in this state, but I began to plead with him saying I was helping fulfill his work. I was giving a voice to our people and helping him do what I’ve seen him do my whole life. For the first time in what seemed like forever, he mustered enough strength to open his eyes to give me a hug and a kiss whispering the nickname he had given me since I could remember.

Christina Lulu. Tears are running down my cheeks thinking about how proud I know I’ve made him. Please don’t ever think you don’t have so much to offer this world. Even more importantly, your world. We are not our mistakes or external blockages. We were born to die, and that doesn’t mean we have a clock to watch tick down, but an entire life to fulfill with beauty, and love, and passion, and vibrancy. Resonating all of this to the earth will echo it back. There’s always a brighter side. All my luck and love to you,



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