“I will walk where he walked,” a mother’s touching words as her son spent his last days in Morocco beloved by many, before dying in the land that he loved.
Casablanca, Morocco- I can’t even begin to understand what it feels like to lose a child, and I don’t pretend to, but I know what it’s like to be a wife and dream of one day being a mother. Mothers’ love is incomparable. There are few places in this world that will make us truly feel at home. Let me rephrase that, there are few people in this world that will make us truly feel at home, but when relocating to a foreign country, we hope even more so to find these kinds of people. I know the value of a friend in a country where I am alone and I don’t speak the language from personal experience, but imagine that everyone in a country extends that same hand to you, just as a friend would.
This is the story of Jack. Jack was a modern-day philosopher, a lover of traveling and a teacher of children, the latter being his calling in life. Last May, after spending 4 years in Switzerland, he began his journey to teach English, hoping back-then that one day he would build a school where he could teach for free by obtaining his ESL certificate in Canada, where he is originally from. He then was hired by a school in Tetouan. For the first time in his life, he relayed to his mother that he was genuinely happy after struggling with severe anxiety and depression in the past. He spoke about the goodness of the Moroccan people, his love of their food, but most of all about the children he was teaching. He loved his job and those kids with his whole soul. Unfortunately, he lost his job after trying to help a pregnant homeless woman, but still wanted to remain in Morocco and began farm work to stay in the country.
He fell ill several weeks ago after contracting the coronavirus. He was afraid to visit the hospital, but a doctor tried to help him over the phone and he had many people look after him during this time. Eventually, he had to visit the hospital as his condition worsened and he became gravely ill, to then pass away at the age of 35 after suffering cardiac arrest, triggered by his COVID-19 infection.
Although Jack is no longer with us today, his daughter Virginia, the love of his life, will carry the dreams of her father. We hope Jack is somewhere playing chess, drinking tea, and talking about life as he would so often do. He loved the Mediterranean town of M’diq and his last wish before passing away was to tell Virginia to scatter his ashes there. Jack’s mother, Mary Jane, holds all people that cared for him during his last days dear to her heart, and she will repeat the same journey he took in Morocco to remember him. She proudly said, “I will walk where he walked.”