Thursday, July 22, 2010

By Graveside of Youssef Taneus Abdo...

For those dear friends of mine who may not be knowing, I am a true-blue multi-cultural Australian!

My father was born in Wells, Austria - and my mother was born an Abdo - of the Syrian family who came to Australia from the region of Mount Lebanon as Maronite Catholics in search of a better life in a country where their beliefs were in the majority...

On Sunday, I got to stand where so many of my family would have stood 95 years ago, on a very sad day when their beloved son, Joseph was laid to rest in the Catholic section of the Queanbeyan cemetery. He was a young man, of only 27.  His death was an innocent, tragic accident.  From all accounts he was a decent and hard working man, and though I know his soul is in heaven - and not beneath the ground on which I stood, I felt a great desire to honour him, and all of the Abdoo family by standing here in prayer and gratitude that they came to this country - and therefore gave me everything I have today - my freedom, my coffee coloured skin, my love of the Middle East, and of our Lord, God.

The inscription on Youssef's grave is in Arabic, and translated it reads;

I stood by the tomb of Abdo Youssef's son;
May the soldiers of Heaven water him with showers of mercy.
The historian, in praise, revealed his virtues.
Youssef died in the fullness of Grace.
Youssef Taneus Abdo
From Mazrat Abisaad.
Born on 4th August in 1888 A.C. 

Our God is a mysterious God in so many ways, and I think a God of numbers...  My son Campbell's birthday is the 4th of August - he was born 112 years after my uncle Joseph.

So often you see numbers and dates repeated in family histories - I don't know what it all means, but I think perhaps it serves to remind us that we all have our turn here, on this Earth.  That we all must make the most of our short time, and leave it better than we found it.

And remember we are all bound together by one thing, not the time we walk this Earth - but the God who made it, and put us here.

I have learned so much about who I am, from who they were.  I would hope that everyone might do the same.

Shell xx


  1. What a very thoughtful, inspirational, and well written post Shell. And funny to think, all this time I thought you just had a great tan. ;)

  2. Well written Shell...and yes it is so so true abouts dates of births and deaths in the family repeat themselves. :) Bel

  3. How wonderful to know you family history and the Lord God who binds you altogether. For years I didn't know my own history and had a lot of questions about. I believe that God himself brought all the pieces together one day to show me exactly from whence my family came. It was so good to know at last :-) It is wonderful you went to honour Youssef and all your ancestors.

  4. That is just beautiful Shell as is the wisdom behind what you say.XX00

  5. This is beautiful. I loved how you told about the things your family gave you. It reminds me that the things we do now will have a great impact on future generations. So glad you shared this moment.

  6. Kelly Burke-KosserisJuly 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Mechelle this is fantastic, it makes me think of Grandfather and how much I miss him!
    The photos are fantastic, I will have to make sure Mum sees them xoxoxo

  7. Allison, the funny thing is - I always thought it was just a tan too!! As an Aussie kid growing up we went to school with every nationality going, and being kids, we never noticed each others differing ethnic varieties! What a blessing and a multi-cultural success story! Thank you for the kind words xx

  8. Bel, I agree with you completely - funny world we live in, I love it's twists and turns...

    Joyful, I'm so happy you've come to know more of your family history - what a blessing indeed!

    Trish, Thank you! It means a lot to me that you felt what I felt in this...

    Tea, I am so glad to have offered you something to ponder - as you have so often done this (and more) for me, and my soul.

    Dearest Cousin Kelly - Welcome!!! I am so pleased to welcome you to my little blog! You are as much of the Abdoos as I am, lets find out more and more about them, together for our children's reference! And you'll have to come to Queanbeyan and see the grave, and we'll find out where they used to run the General Store in the main street! Exciting!


Thank you for your thoughts...