My family in Yemen [Archives:2007/1033/Letters to the Editor]

March 15 2007

By: Shamsan
I am of mixed races; my father is from Yemen and my mother is a Briton. I am 31 years old and both my parents have passed away. I am left feeling very sad not only because my parents have gone but because I don't know about my roots on both sides.

My father was very proud of his heritage. He was born in Aden I think. His name was Syed Mohammed Abdo Shamsan. He left when he was very young – maybe 15 – and came to England and met my mother. They had 5 children. He was the greatest and most gentle of a man I will ever know and I am honoured to have had him as my father.

I regret that as I was growing up I didn't ask more questions about his homeland and my ancestors. I feel there is something missing in my life because of this.

After 40 years my father went home alone to visit his family with no knowledge of where they lived or who was still around. He just turned up on a doorstep in the middle of the night. His sister was still alive and living there.

My father was ill when he left to Yemen for the visit. I think it was because he wanted to see his homeland and family before he died. His sister didn't believe it was him because his family had thought he was dead for years.

He went back one more time after that to see his brother whom he loved and missed dearly. I think his name was Abbas. He went to Mecca and was so happy on his return to England. After seen his brother for the second time his brother passed away. I'm just so thankful my father saw him before his demise.

One of the stories I have heard about my father is he was the strongest man in his village and people still tell stories of him today. I just wished I have gone to Yemen with him. I had the opportunity and didn't take it. I was 14 at the time but I will always regret this even if I was to visit now. It would never be the same for me. I would want my father with me. I didn't even learn Arabic. I am left with so many regrets.

I loved my father so much but don't know why I never asked more questions about his homeland and his family back in Yemen.

My family in England was in contact with a family in Aden but lost contact.

Does anyone know about my family in Yemen? Or does anyone know my cousin Manar Shamsan? Please feel free to email me.


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