In Memory of EIL Founder, Chris Al-Aswad

Maki Horanai & Hillel Weintraub, Sense of Flying 

A Letter to Chris,

As we remember you on the 2nd anniversary of your “escape,” our hearts are full of grief and longing for you. We miss your smile, your sincerity,  and your contagious laughter. However, you’ll be happy to know that we have kept the promises we made when you left. EIL is still alive and thriving and we decided to keep your home in Normal as a haven and retreat for me and all who wish to spend time there.  In fact, tomorrow our family and close friends will be gathering there to celebrate you among the things you loved most, your books and journals. We will remember you and Mom and reflect on the wonderful  memories you both left us with.

With so much love,



Maki Horanai & Hillel Weintraub, Two Moons



An Except from Chris’ Journal – December, 2005

So many things I don’t know about
So many things I don’t understand
but most of all, I am sad that my
mother is dead

She was a beautiful woman
if only you could have met her
she knew a lot about fashion
and people asked for her opinions

Will my life be like hers
through so many different periods
career, parenting, art, death
or will my life be only

one note extended until my
last breath
I have more fear than my mother
I like to hide in libraries
and read at home, nothing else

When I see a pretty girl who
smiles at me, I am afraid
to love her or to tell her
my name

I am an artist but I am still afraid
so where are you, mother
can you come down for me tonight
and carry me to your land
where you go on living

how could I ever think
that your death was the end
I feel you with me more
each year

I long to embrace you
where will we go to meet each
other again
where will I find you in the night

Mother, return to this earth
to love me
mother, keep me company
for all I do is read and write
and have no mother to replace


In Memory of Christopher R. Al-Aswad

Entered into life July 16th 1979 – Escaped into life July 27th 2010

8 responses to “In Memory of EIL Founder, Chris Al-Aswad”

  1. Ckapolas says:

    thinking of the al-aswad family. 

  2. Walt Pascoe says:

    Chris was one of the first people I connected w/ online in a meaningful way. He shared so much… rich content… but more importantly, his own soul journey in all its darkness and light. Such a wonderful guy. His unquenchable hunger for meaning, and willingness to articulate and share his searching, ultimately lit the path for so many others. And still does. A beautiful legacy for someone who left us so soon.

  3. Ellie Gooday says:

    My dear friend, I too, having lost a child share your grief this day.  What a lovely and sad letter to mother.  Love, Ellie 

  4. Mgbarc says:

    I miss you Chris, more than you will ever know. I cannot go past The Coffee Hound in Normal, where we often met for coffee and profound discussions, and not think of you. I cannot go to Heartland College where we first met, and not think of all the times we laughed together there. I cannot look at my novel that you encouraged me to write, and not say a quiet thank you to you. I cannot look at a blue car like you drove and not think of our ride to Chicago, and you taking me to see a Shakespeare play. I cannnot go into Ames Library at Illinois Westlyn U. and not remember the time you showed me the special room upstairs, your own special sanctuary, that housed all the prize-winning books. I cannot look at your picture and not see you waltzing into our house with your smile, charm and wit. I cannot pass the first house we looked at together for you to buy, and not laugh out loud. Only you will remember why. Mostly, I will never not remember your presence in my life, and the life of my family. You were our adopted son in Normal, and there will forever be an emptiness where you once stood. I loved you in life, and you will forever be with me in my heart and soul. Love, Gretta

  5. Br. Joseph Kilikevice says:

    Chris indeed has remained unforgettable! The photograph I took of him has taken its place in my home with other beloved ones who have left. I remember him with every escape into some new discovery of beauty, every imperfect act of love, every escape into my life made unique for having known amazing Chris.

    Holding you, Basel and all who love and miss Chris in a prayerful heart today,Br. Joe Kilikevice

  6. Eleneetsa says:

    basel, thank you for sharing this with me. christopher was a BEAUTIFUL person and i only wish i could have known him…but i know you, so i feel like i did know him…he has your smile and i believe he has your heart…always with you basel, always…

    love, holly

  7. Bethany Reid says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it!

  8. Br. Joseph Kilikevice says:

    Dear Gretta,

    Grief is a teacher and through it Chris speaks to you. Grief is becoming a more gentle companion for you.

    Brother Joe Kilikevice

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