Irvin Yalom is an existential psychotherapist. He teaches that the amount of one’s death anxiety correlates with the amount of unlived life.
Can you live with integrity? in a way, that is aligned with your deepest beliefs and values? 
Can you always make sure that the most important thing is in fact “the most important thing”?
Can you keep your eyes on the prize?
If you can, then you have a chance that when death comes, you might be able to say: Huh. So, this is the it. So be it. There’s not much I’d change about how I lived my life anyway, and not much I’d change about the rest of my days either.
And that, my friends, would be an amazing way to go.




where is home?

is home where you were born?

is it where you wish to die?

is it where you wish to live in between?

is it where you find yourself?

is it the one you love?

is home something you carry with you in your soul?

is it all of these things?

what if these things are scattered all over the earth..and buried under it?

Someone once said to me: once you’ve crossed the ocean, you feel you’re always on the wrong side..

I’ve published these poems about leaving Montreal, which is a home




and here is a poem about going back home..home-home

They’re contradictory, but true



As I step off the plane

I let out a breath

one I didn’t know I was holding

Though it’s all beige and bland

with some sea and sand

To my sore eyes

it’s a sight to be-holding (close)

I feel safe despite wars

And breakneck speed cars

I feel fair cloaked in my abaya*

Best of all I blend in

And completely fit in

No longer …a pariah

  • Abaya: long black cloak worn by women in Saudi, over their clothes
  • Finding Your Place



This will be clumsy, stilted, contradictory

It’s a reflection of how I feel

It’s my best

I have not been able to write for a few days..or enjoy eating, or sleep well

How dare I, when people are being massacred in Aleppo?

I know that my sleepless nights, my fasting, my paralysis does nothing to help them

but how dare I live as if nothing is happening?

how dare I write about anything else?

but how dare I write about it?

what do I know about it? about their suffering?

I feel Iike I’d deserve it if they spat in my face.

I’m not writing about Aleppo

It’s too huge, anything I say is inadequate, disrespectful

I’m writing about my paralysis

But how dare I?

How selfish to think about myself and write about my own misery?

Maybe it will mobilize me to do something useful..but what? Maybe it will touch other paralyzed souls.

I’m sorry for this disjointed incoherent message

It’s my internal dialogue, spilling over onto the screen

It’s the vicious cycle that has been my home this week..no its been my home for a long time, but like a chronic disease,  like a volcano.. it flares up and goes dormant. It is the same disease, though it has many faces: Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia.. It has other faces, of other countries I’m guilty of not knowing enough about.…it may be my own country one day. It feels like all these countries are my own..but how dare I say that..from the comfort of my heated home, from beneath the warm covers of my cosy bed. This waxing and waning disease that paralyzes me has been my home since the Gulf war at least. I was in second grade then. I know that I know nothing of real war. I only got a whiff of its smoke, inhaled -moreover -through the privilidged filter of  a gas-mask, something the less fortunate did not have. We heard of war, but we only heard the sirens -not the bombs.. well, not that I can remember.

My paralysis..It flares up when reality seeps through the barriers I build

I know, how dare I build barriers to protect myself when others suffer? -Guilty

My paralyzed state goes into remission when- in exhaustion, I retreat, and bury my head in the sand-Guilty again

My inaction is not born out of no action

It is the result of actions so strong-so strongly pulling me in opposite directions

It tears me apart

fight -flight

give to charity- but whats the point?

anger -shame

they should- we should

speak- but what is there to say?!

spread the word, the images, the videos- but doesn’t that feed into the collective sense of despair and  hopelessness..and more paralysis

How can I be hopeless?

but how dare I say: everything is going to be ok

what do I know?

even if I believe the most terrible things happen for a reason

Can I say that to those over there? who may have lost all faith

Would I lose faith if I lost everything?

I don’t know..

All I know is that an image of child in the rubble..is an image of my child dead

And a video of a girl hugging her doll, or asking where her father is..is a video of my child too

But it’s not

so how dare I say that?





My father and the sea


It’s such a gift to form a new image, or pretend to have a new memory of a loved one after they die.


30 years ago

My father stood alone

Gazing out at the sea

And someone wrote this about his meeting with Princess Diana:


I would not have understood then, his charm, his diplomacy, his loyalty

what he was saying

I was only 2


25 years ago..

I stood with my father (well, he stood, and my feet dangled over the wall I was sitting on)

Gazing out at that same sea

“Baba, I’m bored, what should I do?”

“Do what you’re doing”

“What am I doing?”

“Looking out at the sea”

“That’s doing something?” I asked puzzled

“Sure it is”

I ignored him and decided to do something “productive” (yes, I’ve had this obsessive streak for quite a while)

I pulled out my book: Basil the Great Mouse Detective, see?


Again, I did not understand what he was trying to teach me, about life, about time, about “being” rather than “doing”

I was only 7


But I’m starting to get it now

Starting to gather all his pearls

Strung along the seashore of our past

Lessons I am understanding

Only in retrospect

As I walk in his footsteps

which have been washed away by the tides

I’m starting to get it now

Who he was:

Just a man

Trying his best

to be a husband and father

Probably making it up

as he went along

Definitely making mistakes

as he went along

Just like me

Just like all of us


My children don’t get it now

But I’m sure they will


…or maybe 30

long-short years from now


I miss him 💔  and would love to gaze out at the sea with him one more time,

doing nothing….doing everything that matters.

Wid Kattan

Reference:The Diana Chronicles, Tina brown, 2007, page 271

that moment..


I wish..

I could hover

In that moment

Before the break of dawn

Not in slumber

Yet not awake

On the tips

Of a feather’s swan

I wish..

I could glide

On that liminal space

To where you and I were drawn

To save just..

a moment

Of our love



Before it was all gone


Image: https://www.google.ca/search?q=swan&safe=active&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqh4XMisjQAhVTziYKHQMGCj0Q_AUICCgB&biw=1459&bih=801#safe=active&tbm=isch&q=swan++art&imgrc=yXV8x-lp0PKNKM%3A




It’s supposed to snow this week. I’ve been putting off this poem, but it’s time.

Winter’s coming.


I feel my heart fall

 as the leaves fall

in my last fall

in Montreal

I feel my heart break

It’s so high stakes

wish time would slow

To a crawl

It’s my last shot

In the pool game

It’s the black one

Eight- ball

But I’m going home

To remake a home

I won’t be alone

After all

Still it’s so unknown

Though it’s called my own

Have faith, close your eyes














Wid Kattan

8 sketches, 8 hats

My home page as you can see in this link  shows the many hats  I wear. There are many facets to me, and to you and you and you. When our similar facets face each other, light is reflected back, we recognize our common human-ness. Stereotypes and racism no longer makes sense, because we are too complex, and too similar. If you see me as a human being, as a mother, as a professional, as an artist, it’s hard to fixate on that one facet that may disturb you: my religion or colour or race or name.

I think the whole idea behind my blog is to relate to people. To help you see behind the hats or veils I and you and you and you wear. To help us see each other. In today’s world, this one thing, this capacity to see each other may be the only thing that can save us.

Read more in the About me/us page


How dare you

violenceToday is the international day for the elimination of violence against women.This is the voice I wish women could find in themselves.

I find it shocking that anyone could harm a woman at all, let alone a pregnant woman. Is there anything more sacred than a pregnant woman?

yet shockingly, the number one cause of death for pregnant women, at least in one study, was violence! See below



How dare you

Raise your hand to me

How dare you

Touch a hair




On my  coiffed head!

my hairdo!

Do you think

That I am scared?




You say

You didn’t mean it

You say it

Like I care




The first time

Is the hardest

So you’ll surely

again dare




You lost me

Before it landed

Your fist

still in mid-air




You touched me once

That was our end

Touch me again

You’ll end I swear



And do you know how much I paid to get my hair done?

Stupid bully💪🏻


Study: http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20010320/number-1-cause-of-death-in-pregnant-women-murder

If the world had your Heart, Abdul


If the world..

had your heart, Abdul

What a place it would be..

So cool

You, who cried..

When you knew,

The Tasmanian Tiger

Was extinct before you..

Before you were ever born

But you cried for it

Soaked your pillow

“Why? Why did they kill them all?

They weren’t dangerous! They didn’t do anything!”

You who asked me once

With your hands on your shaking head

“How do people do this?

How do you steal something?

How do you kill someone?


You who wave at strangers and say

“See Mama,

It’s a game ..

you wave and see who waves back”

And people always wave back to you, my love

If only the world had you heart, Abdul

What a place it would be





The Tasmanian Tiger is believed to have been hunted to extinction in the 20th century. There is actually a video of the last one known to survive,  in the 20s I believe. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none has been conclusively proven.

It was a relatively shy, nocturnal creature, but a formidable predator. It was one of the rare marsupials where both the male and the female have a pouch that can protect the young.

Such a beautiful animal, so like you; merciful, shy, rare, caring-for-the-young  Abdulrahman (which in Arabic means servant of the All-Merciful ).

Maybe you’ll be the one to discover there are still some Tasmanian Tigers left. Maybe you’ll be the one to capture them on camera when you grow up to be a wild life photographer, like you say you want to be.

There is always hope. As long as there are hearts like yours Abdul, there is always hope.

Painting above retrieved from: the depths of my heart.

Poem and image published with the permission of : Abdulranman, 9


Hope Gone Viral

Not an “other”


You would never have shot me

Or beaten me to the ground

If you knew me

If you knew me,

You’d never have been angry or afraid

If you knew me

You’d have loved me

You’d have shed more tears for me

than this blood on your hands

I think you know it

Yet can’t bare to know it

So you avoid my gaze

As the life leaves me body

You may look at me

But you don’t see me

If you saw me,

You’d have seen yourself

Not another

Not an “other”

In February 2015, 3 Muslim students were shot in the head in their apartments. Days ago, a 24-year-old Saudi student was beaten to death by a stranger- who used his fists as bludgeons- outside a pizza shop.

I just don’t know what to say, except: Don’t shoot! It’s me! It’s you..