About a month ago, you and Bambi’s dad lost your good friend Khalil (Professor Smeira was the focus of an earlier post by Bambi, as shown at the very end of this post). God knows how many other friends and neighbours you may have all lost to this tiny yet mean coronavirus… Like him, and perhaps in a more dramatic way, you survived all the destruction of the Beirut surrealistic port explosion. Bambi asked her dad about you several times since the start of the pandemic. She sadly did not have the chance to call to hear your voice (or the one of your dear spouse, Karmen). However, she does not need a reminder of it. It is currently like a clear and beautiful music to her ears. Yes, she is smiling now to all those beautiful memories from the war era, to her earlier trips to Beirut, and beyond.
Bambi does not know from where to start to describe the inspiring Mr. Raymond Tabet. With his spouse, he raised such a beautiful family with values like deep spiritual faith that we rarely see nowadays, love, forgiveness, friendship, respect, and care for humanity. Perhaps the most striking asset for Bambi has been his capacity to love, not just Jesus in whom he believed all his life, but also to love his adorable wife, children/grand-children and their families. Not just to love and care for all his friends, but also their children (and their grand-children!). He also loved his country, Lebanon, beyond words… and his love was surely contagious, including to Bambi.
If there is one single word that can describe Mr. Raymond Tabet, it would be: A prayer or… should it be love? Or is there a difference between these two terms when they both are so pure? Why is Bambi saying all this? Simply because when we love, we pray for those we care about… and this is what everyone did for you Raymond, it seems (not just in Beirut, but literally across the planet!). A prayer is not just an act of faith, love, and humility, it is an act of hope (the beautiful word “Espérance” in French). Mr. Tabet’s life, and now death, was a living prayer that has inspired us all in so many ways. Bambi finds comfort in knowing that he left his loved ones in peace and without any pain. Despite their own painful sadness, his caring children and spouse found ways to comfort the broken heart of Bambi’s dad. Love does breed love and the Tabets are all about love…. They are love rather.
To come back to Mr. Tabet’s life, his successful career as an entrepreneur in the field of insurance was another source of inspiration: A clever businessman with authentic leadership! As for his way of living during civil war times, it was an inspiration: An educated man, open to the world, with deep roots in Beyrouth/Lebanon, and whose faith has always been a source of inspiration… Under the heavy shelling, when places of worship were destroyed or closed, Raymond found his own way to celebrate God and life. He celebrated masses in their own apartment and he comforted us. When theatres and schools got bombarded and destroyed, Raymond found ways to celebrate culture by encouraging his children and their friends, including Bambi, to become “Les amis (= friends) du théâtre” .
As mentioned above, his love of Lebanon and its culture was a true inspiration. Bambi returned from her trips back home carrying several gifts from him. Below, you can see a book by Mr. Henri Eddé called “the Lebanon where I come from“. On its first page, Bambi had tears in her eyes reading Raymond’s beautiful words about her family. The second book is a spiritual one, with stories for each day of the year.
Mr. Raymond Tabet once invited Bambi and her dad for lunch at a delicious Italian restaurant. Bambi has fond memories of that particular trip. She was 20 years old then and it was her first trip back from Montreal. Funny how our brain works, associating loved products to loved ones. She is particularly thinking of a lemon sorbet, which was part of the meal service (for digestion). Of course, there was desert too and most likely it was a Tiramisu (her favoured desert…. after ice cream :). Every time she eats a lemon ice cream, she thinks of Raymond!
How could Bambi pay tribute to Raymond Tabet without thinking of Firas (or Serge), her late childhood friend who inspired her blog? We were all friends. Friends during war times are like brothers in arms, so to speak. They are united by a strong attachment. Like Firas and Bambi, Raymond loved freedom. In your case, it is the freedom to live by your values (not just the blahblahblah of empty words we hear or read about in our more superficial times…). Like Firas (+Bambi and 99.97% of people of Lebanese ancestry :)), you love this country. However, contrary to us, you also lived by your values: you stayed and remained genuinely faithful to your beautiful yet devastated Beirut. Once again, your love and hope for better days are inspiring to older and younger generations.
Who knows? Perhaps you are hanging out with Khalil now? or with our Dear Firas? You are surely watching over your family in Lebanon and the United States from heaven whilst being happy to be with Jesus. Symbolically, even if you are Catholic, your funeral took place on the Holy Friday (the Greek Orthodox one yesterday). Is there a more beautiful day for you to leave our world and “enter life”, as per the first words of your obituary?
So, to you Dear Mr. Raymond Tabet, Bambi will say: 1. She loves you and will miss you; and 2. Christ is risen! To your family, she sends her love across the miles…. May they continue to find comfort in knowing that you are in a happier place where you have always dreamed to be, despite your full and happily contagious life. Bambi is honoured to have met you. Thank you!