Remembering Uzza

If Islam was explained to me in a pub

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A Mournful Acknowledgment

I fondly remember André as my harshest critic and, if Remembering Uzza gains a respectable audience share, he will also prove to be the most insightful. We had a falling-out because of some unfortunate remark I made about him being insensitive, which he wasn’t, to my wife’s difficult journey. As fate would have it, he lost his adored Diane to cancer almost a year before my Lucette left me.

He said he gave up on Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice because of all the verses that kept interrupting the narrative. Couldn’t I find a way, he said, of telling the story without all the interruptions? Put the verses in an index of some sort at the end of the book, he suggested, and let the reader decide if he wants to know more by going to the source.

At the time, I thought what he was suggesting betrayed a lack of understanding of what was involved.

In August of 2018, Lucette and I moved into a residence where I could provide her with the near constant supervision that her deteriorating lung condition now required and to be with her when the time came. Watching over her was a pleasure which left me free to do other things.

Her knowledge, dedication, intellectual honesty and affection made Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice, and everything that came after, possible. Could we do it again, one last time?

She was more than okay with my trying to give form to Andre’s vision. Half-joking, I said she could not leave me until we had completed the first full draft. Two days after it became clear to her that that milestone had been reached, she called the number that was given to her when she was approved for assisted dying and said she was ready. A few days later, on Friday the fifth of July at two in the afternoon, we said our last goodbye.

Thank you, André, for your inspired suggestion. And thank you my beloved Lucette for helping me see it through; all kindness, serenity and love to the very end.

Bernard August 26, 2019