Via Basel: Just Received…

July 16, 2017

Dear Dad,

On this day, my birthday, I thought this would be a good time to send you this letter. In addition, in a few days it would have been seven years in earthly time since I escaped. And a lot has happened recently in your life, with your retirement, embarking on new adventures, and, the most exciting, expecting your first grandchild soon. Tell Mandy and Thomas congratulations, and I’m looking forward to being an uncle in absentia.

As far as how you received this message, relax. Don’t analyze it. Yes, it may appear to you mystical or extrasensory, but trust me, it’s authentic, and you know that deep inside. (Tessa may have had something to do with it.)

First, I have to apologize for my abrupt departure. Things happen at times with no adequate or satisfying explanation. I was actually quite concerned how you would take it. I have to say in general you handled it well and with dignity. Well, at times you went over the top, but heck, who can blame you? You took your time, occupied yourself with work, family and friends, and your varied interests.

Dad, I know I let you down in some ways. I did the best with what I was given, and it’s OK. Maybe if I had stayed on earth longer we would have drifted further apart. Now I believe we are closer than ever before, you in me, me in you. As you read and write more, you understand me better, and that cements our bond.

I am especially grateful for you keeping Escape Into Life going and for maintaining my house in Normal. It’s now our place, where we can meet quietly, intimately, and uninterrupted. I love my new neighbors—the young couple with their newborn boy. I know you get along with them very well. You also see Kathleen, Rob, my former neighbors, and sometimes Greta. That is all very gratifying for me.

By the way, Mom says hello to you, Mandy and Sue. Right now, she’s busy painting, as usual, even though there are no canvases to paint on. It’s difficult to describe it here, because there are no bodies or stuff, just spirit and energy. Actually quite nice and light, with no baggage to weigh you down, as on earth. So, Dad, when the time comes, don’t sweat it, it’s fine here. But speaking of that, it’s not time for you yet. You have a few more jobs to do, missions unfulfilled, and some of them my unfinished business.

You must be wondering about all these diaries and notes that I left. It must have taken you over a year to read, and I know you did read them. I’m sorry about some of what I wrote about you and others. I just had to write. For me it was cathartic. Maybe also my obsessive compulsive nature. Most of it is nonsense, just rambling, but if you dig deep in the mine, you will probably find a few golden nuggets. These will make you proud of me.

So, Dad, speaking of writing, I notice you’ve been doing more of it since I left. A few tips: Please don’t worry about it and how it’s going to come out. It’s fine. Of course, not as good as mine, but then only a few can get to that level. Ha ha. Just keep it up. And thanks for reminding people about me. I believe I’m more popular now than if I had not escaped.

Also, you have to hang around to read to your grandchild like you did for me (kicking and screaming). Still, thanks, Dad, eventually I fell in love with reading. You know, I still fondly remember Grandpa Ibrahim sitting with me and Mandy in the back of your car on our way to church on Sunday mornings, gently holding my hand. He’s doing well here, says hello, and you can always find him playing backgammon with his old friends from Iraq, just like they did in the good old days in the cafés on popular Sa’adoun Street in Baghdad. I hear he wrote well in his heyday. Maybe it’s a trait in our family just waiting to be discovered. Pass it on.

Timeless love from your son,


Via Basel: Writing to My Son

Via Basel: Five Years

Escape-Into-Chris: Reading to My Father

Father to Son

The Month of July

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