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It seems surreal, the act of penning these words; their aim is not your vibrant and lively presence but a memory, an echo of you. I could have never conceived that a day would come when I would be writing you a posthumous letter. You, whose vivacious youth and effervescent spirit eclipsed even the gloomiest of souls.

Our friendship, germinated more than 35 years ago, feels just as fresh as the day it bloomed. Time, it seems, is a frivolous concept when love is at play. These recent years, a whirlwind of moments, have created distances between us. Each of us, submerged in our own microcosms, striving to find our footing in the quicksands of Lebanese life. In our Cedar Land, time appears to possess a different essence, compelling us to navigate life as beings in perpetual survival mode.

Your life, Valvoul, has been far from the tranquil flow of a serene river, yet you always chose to perceive the glass as half-full. Your strength—drawn from the deepest wells of your vulnerability, an extreme paradox—surmounted each and every obstacle, be it psychological, material, or existential. Tirelessly, you reinvented yourself, adapting and blossoming like a magnificent plant that, despite irregular watering, survived through nature’s wonder. You were a life survivor, one who endured sudden and tragic losses—your sister Dominique, your mother Liliane.

The last bastion you leaned on, your esteemed father, Roméo Lahoud, joined your dearly departed in 2022, leaving you bereft of the final anchor of what was once a family in days long past.

Yet, your chosen siblings, your timeless friends and companions, endure. These twin souls, with whom you’ve woven a symbiotic, intradermic relationship, mourn your absence today. But above all, endures the love of your life: your daughter Dominique, your passionate and symbiotic connection, who made you a contented grandmother less than a year ago. What you didn’t receive, Valvoul, the tranquility of a traditional family life, you reimagined and provided for your daughter Dominique—a loving home that enabled her to grow up loved not only by you, but also by her chosen family, including countless individuals whose loyalty to you remained unwavering.

In a short while, I will embrace your loved ones, weep in the arms of Papou, your beloved aunt, who has reciprocated your love in kind. I will take little Dominique, who might not recognize me, into my arms. I will especially strive to condense the time elapsed during which I remained silent to appease the rebellious outcry that tears at my heart. This afternoon, I will meet all your friends, our friends. But no matter what I do, say, or write, I will never forgive myself for not picking up the phone to call you the day I learned—by sheer coincidence—that you were battling lung cancer.

Last night, I spent sleepless hours rewinding our shared memories, interrogating both my memory and my conscience. In revisiting certain pivotal moments we shared, I endeavored to alleviate my remorse, convincing myself that deep down, I considered you immortal.

In fact, I was firmly convinced that you would come through as you always have, with the grace of an eternal sulfide. Beautiful in every way and everywhere, my Valvoul. Too beautiful for the grim reaper to snatch you away from us.