Oasis Magazine Articles

Remembering Flavia: Words from Mona & Maya Makram-Ebeid

By Oasis Staff Writer

July 01, 2017

In the words of Maya Makram-Ebeid…

"My dearest mami, my best friend. If there is one thing I learned from you, it is to always stay strong and this is what will keep me going every single day that’s yet to come. I will always remember and take with me that vibrant, beautiful smile of yours in my heart. I’m going to miss those hysterical laughs we’d have about the silliest things that would bring us to tears. I will miss everything we had. It is the great memories, bigger than this world that I will cherish forever. You had a heart of gold that touched every single one us. I am the person I am today because of you and daddy. The endless love, kisses, and everything you gave me and daddy is something that I will carry with me always. In these 22 years, I’ve brought you joy, happiness, and unconditional love. I feel lucky that I was able to do that. Yes, we had our ups and downs, but there was not one night that we would go to sleep mad at each other, because that is something both of us couldn’t bear to do.

I will make sure that your spirit stays at home where I’ll take care of daddy and nana. This bond of family can and will never break because of the strength you instilled in us. Mami, you were great, you are great. I say ‘are’ because your greatness carries on within us all. You are my heart, you are my life, and you are my everything. I will miss you. Mami amore mio, ti amo, per sempre. I love you forever."

                                                - Maya Makram-Ebeid, loving daughter.

In the words of Mona Makram-Ebeid...

"As many of you know, Flavia was my sister-in-law. That’s an interesting phrase. Basically, it involves someone else choosing who your sister will be – which, obviously, could be a very fraught process. But with Flavia, my brother chose superbly. I have thought of Flavia as my true sister for the past 25 years. And she in turn reciprocated by choosing me as the godmother to her lovely baby daughter, Maya. Flavia brought joy and energy and optimism to our lives. She made so many contributions to our lives and to our community that they are hard to count.  But, from this long list, I have always been struck by her work at the CSA in Maadi, which she helped to build into a truly remarkable institution.

I’ve always thought that her work at the CSA captured many of the qualities that made her such an exceptional person. CSA is an organization that aims, fundamentally, to help people – particularly people new to Egypt who know little about our culture, who may be a bit disoriented with all the new things they encounter here, and who need a way to find new friends and feel part of a community. Flavia was remarkably well-suited to do all of these things. She had a deep love of Egypt and a deep respect for Egyptians, which made her a wonderful person to welcome new people to life here. She was patient and thoughtful, which enabled her to sooth the often jangled nerves of a family new to Egypt or to offer just the right advice for coping with an unexpected challenge. And she had remarkable warmth and optimism that helped to convey to everyone she worked with that things would work out and that she would be there to help if you needed her.

Part of her work included writing an occasional column for this publication. She called it Flavia’s Fab Facts. I was taking a look at an entry for March of last year, which gave her advice about the ways men fail to fully understand women. It reminded me of both of her wisdom and her wonderful sense of humor. Here are a few of the bits of Flavia’s advice to men about how to deal with the women in their lives:

-          If that piece of clothing does indeed make us look fat, simply say, “It’s nice, but you don’t look comfortable in it.” Most of the time, it’s true.

-          We know when you don’t know the answer to our question, but it’s sort of endearing when you fake it.

-          In the beginning of a relationship, “I love you” is important to say.  Later on, the phrase you’ll want to master is, “You were right.”

As I’ve been thinking about Flavia’ over the past few days, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I am for having the joy of knowing her for the past 25 years. We have a wonderful phrase in Arabic, nawarty, which means, you light up the room. It captures Flavia beautifully. She was a breath of sunshine, always smiling, always loving life. I will miss her terribly, but all of the wonderful things that she brought to our lives are not gone. She changed each of us for the better. Every time I am a bit more kind than I otherwise would have been, or a bit more considerate, that is Flavia acting through me. 

We measure the value of a life by the impact we have had on those we love. Flavia lived an extraordinarily valuable and rich life, and I am the richer for having known her."

- Mona Makram-Ebeid, loving sister-in-law.

There are 0 Comments

There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.

Something to say? Choose one of these options to log in and comment.
Thanks to all supporters