Today is my father's birthday. My father is Youssef Ajaj Khoury. People called him Joe Khoury. My dad passed away 22 years ago on August 14, 1987. It took me about 17 years to even begin accepting the fact that he had passed away. My dad was a great man. He was incredible both to his family and to anyone that was part of his life. I remember my friends saying phrases like "you're so lucky, your dad left work just to oil your roller skates." His passing left my 2 brothers, my mom and I in such shock that still to this day we have a hard time talking about the whole incident for too long.
I am at a place though where I would like to acknowledge this great man and thank him for all he's done for me. I was very intuitive growing up. As a matter of fact, a few months before my dad passed away I would hear a voice in my ear telling me it was going to happen. I remember jerking my head and saying "NO!" but I knew that I couldn’t prevent the inevitable. I was 13 at the time. My intuition continued to be strong for about 10 years after that which is when I decided to shut it off completely because it got to be so overwhelming. I managed to do just that for about 5 years but when my oldest son was born everything seemed to come flooding back. I felt spirits all around me and it really freaked me out. One of the things I felt most prominently was the presence of my dad. I just knew he was around which is when I went searching for answers. It was my dad who wouldn't let up until I found my way back to my passion and life's work.
Growing up I lived in Saudi Arabia which is where my dad worked. My mom and dad would go for daily walks with me on his shoulders; I absolutely loved that. When I got too big for that we would walk together and talk about everything. He was the type that would explain to you anything you'd like to know about. He would wake me up every morning at 6 am to find the morning star. Now whenever I happen to see the morning star I acknowledge my pop and tell him that I love him and miss him. He would spend hours with me looking up at the stars and the moon through a telescope. I learned to find the big dipper and was fascinated by the craters of the moon. He would help my mother make the salad for our meals and they were the best. My dad had a special touch that made everything just feel better. You just felt safe in the presence of my dad. He was a man of integrity and would never let anything stand in the way of what he believed in. He loved listening to the music of Peter Tchaikovsky. My music listening is not quite as refined but I love to listen to his music every so often to honor my dad.
I could go on writing about my dad for days. Today I would like to wish my dad a very Happy Birthday. If he was on this Earth plane I would bake a fabulous cake, make a huge meal and drink to his health and happiness. He is not on this earthly plane but I do feel that he is with us all the time. So I will wish for him whatever makes him happy in heaven; maybe that’s hanging out with his buddies or going for a long walk or whatever else. I miss my dad more than words can describe. I wish he was here giving me his big bear hugs. I wish he were here so that I could tell him in person how much I love him and value him. I always say to people that the only thing that happens when people die is that they change form but that they are still with us. I know he hears and appreciates this birthday wish.
Happy Birthday Dad! I love you and will miss you always!
Mary Khoury Salfi