The death of Anthony Shadid

When I turned on my computer to my Yahoo news page and saw the picture of Anthony Shadid and read that he had died at 43, I was at first shocked and then deeply saddened.

Anthony, of course, was The New York Times foreign correspondent who died of a fatal asthma attack in Syria. He won a Pulitzer Prize twice, and he was the author of two books. His third book—House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East—will be published soon.

Anthony also was a husband and the father of two children, and he was the son of my cousin Rhonda. When I called Rhonda and heard her sobs, my heart ached.

My heart ached for Rhonda. And for Anthony’s wife. For his children. For all of our family.

Anthony’s amazing life and his sudden death are now part of our family’s story. I remembered Rhonda telling me about Anthony’s passion for Lebanon, and I remembered talking to Anthony at his grandmother’s funeral.

I remembered spending summers when I was a child with Rhonda and her family in what seemed like a big  town to me. My family lived on a Texas farm and a summer visit to Borger, Texas, population of 12,000 or so, was exciting.  My uncle, who was the town dentist, would let Rhonda and me take their Cadillac and cruise Borger’s main street. My aunt and uncle’s house had thick carpets and beautiful furniture, and I was sure that they were rich. I felt like a princess whenever I stayed with them.

Then, I thought about my brother and my best friend, Jasper, who died when he was 42—almost the same age as Anthony when he died.

What could I say to Rhonda? Nothing. I listened. I listened to her cry, and I listened to her talk about Anthony. I shared her sorrow.

What could I do about my own sorrow? Nothing. I went to bed and cried.

I remember how my grief felt when my brother died. I would be working or driving my car, and suddenly a dark cloud of grief would swim over me. It was like a big ocean tide of grief.

I have tried denying those clouds of grief. It doesn’t work. You have to feel the pain. Only when you have allowed yourself to feel the pain can you begin to heal.

–Fayteen

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  1. “Gentle and kind, principled, ever curious” | The Resolute Woman - March 27, 2012

    […] you may remember from an earlier blog post, is the son of Fayteen’s cousin Rhonda. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for The New […]

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