Tribute To my father – Michel Nakhla 1922 – 2003

Five years have elapsed since my father passed away a little older that 80 years. His last year was not his best, he suffered from many health problems. During this year, he once told me: I never thought that crossing the 80 milestone will be so painful.


On the day he passed away, it was early in the morning, my mother tried to reach me but for no reason her phone call did not wake me up, leaving my mother to go through this agonizing experience on her own.

I never asked her what happened although until today I wanted to know but I did not want to wake this excruciating experience. I wanted always to know whether he died pleased with me or not, unfortunately this is a question I will never be able to answer.

Today five years later I am still missing him and still hope that in his last days he was contented with me

My father was a low profile person, highly committed to his work and his family. Although he had to work 8 to 2 during these days he never came home before 3:00 despite his office in the Heliopolis Company was five minutes away.

I have never seen him mistreat my mother, they might have their normal differences but these never escalated in front of me and my brother.

As I said he was a low profile person yet he did not impose his personality on us, he encouraged us to be extroverts open and outspoken. He was the youngest among six brother and sisters, he was raised by his sister.

He was a genius having finished his Engineering studies at the age of 20 in 1942 he specialized in Mechanical Engineering, he was among the first of his class, he was offered to become a lecturing assistant in the faculty of engineering an offer he turned down to work as an engineer, because simply he was going to teach mathematics. He was hired by the water services of Heliopolis, he resigned from his position when he was bypassed for a promotion to undersecretary rank in the Heliopolis company. Later he worked for almost 25 years as a consultant engineer, having handled several projects among which one project in Yemen.

During the period of the building of the High dam in the 60’s he used to travel to Aswan in what I believe now was technical training in a project that hardly happen twice in a life time.

I still remember when he used to take me to the water tanks in Almaza to control the level of water and start pumping maneuvers to draw water from Cairo and pump it for Heliopolis houses. I also remember going out with him inspecting a repair of a water tube in the 600 mm line.

At the age of twelve I had my first driving experience, he allowed me to take his place and drive his car, a Fiat 1300, for few hundred meters.

Where I am today I owe it to him, I owe it to his support, both explicit and implicit, he was there when I needed his advise never imposing an opinion on me but helping me take my own decision, he did not interfere with my choice of university studies or the field in which I chose to work. Although I got my first job through our network, my second was really acquired by my fine performance at the interview, an interview I ended with a positive inner feeling that did not fail me later. I remember saying to myself, Michel you have raised me well.

What I believe that his health suffering and anguish, made him in his last days lose the will to live, he in his last days gave up and surrendered to the angel of death. I miss him around and may god bless his soul and rest him in peace


4 Responses to “Tribute To my father – Michel Nakhla 1922 – 2003”

  1. 1 Amira El-Deeb March 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    DR.Rafik….I wish if I didn’t read your words about your father…it burnt my heart …. esp. in these days while my father is sick and I’m trying to push that frightful idea of losing him away from my mind.

    ” you have raised me well…” the same satetment i’m saying to myself & make anything to keep it right.

    God bless his Soul

  2. 2 rafiknakhla March 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Amira, first all my wishes for a rapid recovery for your father.
    we realize the value of those dear to us when we lose them, today five years after my father passed away I still have tears in my eyes, this post also brought tears to my eyes. I will always be proud of him and thankful to what he did to me, the education he gave me, the opportunities he helped create, the environment that was around the house, (credit here goes to both my parents) May god bless his soul

  3. 3 engy ramzy April 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

    dear dr. Rafik,

    firstly I want you to know that we miss you sooooo much AUC is not the same without you.

    I almost know what you talk about as yestarday I lost my spiritual father it realy hurts esp. when it happens while you are away. me too wished to know what did he think about me? I know that I will never ask and I have to assume that he was happy.
    I will be very happy if you have time to visit my blog this is the site

  4. 4 Safa Al-Anani August 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Dear Dr. Rafik

    I have started to read this article as it caught my attention first, and what touched my heart is the way you described your feelings for your late father, Alla yer7amo. I know what you are talking about, I lost Both parents in less than 2 months.

    What really touched me is the feeing of ( guilt ) perhaps when your mother called and you were asleep and Could not wake up to be by her side in the time your father was passing away to Heaven.

    I believe that your father is watching over you from Heaven and he must be not only Content with you, but also Proud of you. Believe me the souls of our loved ones are & will always be around us.

    I felt that I had to tell you this because I know the feeling of wishing to have done more to make my parents happy although I know that my brothers & sisters and I did our best, but I still wish I did even more.

    I sensed that you felt some sort of guilt because, please forgive my frankness, but I had to say it.

    Wishing You All The Best

    Safa Al-Anani

    Poet & writer

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