I had a really kewl event which happened this morning that I was going to blog about but instead, a piece of sad news reached me this evening and now, well, the kewlness has vaporized as a somber moment of reflection dampens my mood.
This evening I learned Abe Rababy died late yesterday. Abe and I, go back a way. Abe gave me my first real major, paying, writing job. We were also suppose to be launching a new project this week – along with my father who worked with Abe when they were both first getting started and was a life long friend – but we postponed the project when Abe took ill a couple weeks ago.
Abe was from Lebanon and had met an American woman there whom he married. Eventually, they came to the States. I remember Abe from when I was boy and playing with his son when they visited. I wrote a short autobiography for Abe years ago. He was happy with the result, I’m not sure I ever was and looking back at it now, I really know I’m not! But, he sold the entire run of that book and used me a couple more times on small items.
I am, in fact, in the middle or rewriting that book. It is due for release as an e-book in May. I would’ve already had it done but again, I was trying to pace it for when he was back on his feet. Oddly, he sent me a chapter to add. It sits on my desk. I haven’t read it yet but I do know, at his request, it is titled ‘The Final Chapter”. I intend to complete the project out of respect. I owe him that much.
When I did my podcast last year, Abe was my first guest. We talked about the Middle East and his efforts there. He was heavily involved in helping refugees. In the last decade, he helped Iraqi refugees and made trips to Iraq even while the war was on. Recently, he had begun helping Syrian refugees and was planning a trip to the region at the end of the summer. I had discussed the possibility of me going along with him on this trip. I wonder now, who will help those people.
In fact, today, I almost mailed him a card – thank goodness for the family’s sake I didn’t get time to mail it – telling him he had to get better because I didn’t have anyone else to take me to Beirut. The comment probably would’ve made him smile which was my goal. He had been offering to take me to Beirut for years but we could never work out a time to do it. Now it won’t happen.
I know he is in a happier place. He thrived on his kids and grandkids but about four or five years ago his wife died and he never really got over that event. If you talked to him privately, he was still grieving. I’m a firm believer that those kind of relationships somehow get reconnected on the other side. I figure they’ll get to see each other again, now.
I will end with two short stories about Abe. One is that years ago, Abe would always come back from the Middle East with rings. Nice, fancy, gems that could class a person up. They weren’t knock-offs but the real deal. I remember him always showing my dad the latest when they would get together. My dad usually bought one.
Second story dates back to the Lebanese Civil War which took a toll on Abe’s family as it did for most Lebanese. My family was on vacation once and we stopped at a Lebanese restaurant somewhere on the road. My dad got to talking with the owners and learned they were distressed about family they had lost touch with back in Lebanon. My dad put them in touch with Abe who managed to pull the right strings and arrange communication for these people who were total strangers to him and to us for that matter. That’s just the type of guy, Abe was.
If you read his biography – or wrote it like I did – you’d know Abe turned his life around from some pretty dire straits to get to where many are mourning his name tonight. It takes special character to accomplish a life like that.
There are people who lay the ground work to get you where you are at in the here and now. Their prodding offers you a chance to demonstrate on your own, what kind of character you have inside yourself. Abe was one of those people for me. I and my writing pen are forever grateful. My family and I grieve.