Last night was Arkan’s goodbye party, his birthday party, and Lawi’s birthday –they wanted it all combined into a mega-party! Afterwards Arkan, Mustafa, and some of the volunteers played an intense game of spoons before we all went to bed so we wouldn’t oversleep Arkan’s 4 am departure.
When Frank and I went into the family’s apartment to see if they were ready, the bags were packed, his father was smoking one last cigarette, and Arkan was asleep on the couch. Most of the volunteers got up in the dark and the cold to say goodbye and wave him off:
The airport went smoothly with no impediments and, suddenly it seemed, we were saying goodbye.
It is with mixed emotions that I write this; I’m so happy the doctors came to the decision to delay surgery, which they believe is best for Arkan. I’m happy his father agreed with it, and I’m happy they are together with their family again. But it’s hard not feel the absence of these two who became like family. We will all miss Arkan’s sense of humour, his laughter, and the inside jokes we all had.
Yet we have beautiful memories, and if I am thankful for one thing on this Thanksgiving, it is to have met Arkan and his Father. He really is blessed with a wonderful dad who is raising him in a way that reflects many of the characteristics of the Lord. We pray for God to bring them back safely in two to three years, and for now treasure the bond we have.