I have thought long and hard of what I am going to say today and I have written many versions of the eulogy with earlier versions being a mere reflection of how I sad felt. But then my younger sister Rola, who is wiser beyond her years, advised me to think about what Khalil would want. He definitely disliked the company of sadness and negativity. And so today I am not here to make you cry, instead we are all here to celebrate the life of a young man, despite his too early departure from this world, it is a life fulfilled in its own way.
This eulogy is an open letter to you Khilo, Khalil, Kevin, Abu l Khil, from your sisters Rania and Rola. I hope that it does you the justice that you deserve.
There is nothing fake or filtered about you. You were known for a genuine contagious smile, a unique loud laugh that was popular among family, friends and colleagues, you had a twinkling enthusiasm/excitement in your eyes, a pure open heart coupled with an innocence that has remained untouched despite the sometimes bitter lessons of life. Your generosity and kindness has also humbled many.
You took great pleasure in reading. Reading inspired you, you considered it a path to wisdom’s treasures and to fascinating places, and so you read plenty in past time from theology, to mythology, fiction, the health sciences, poetry etc. Your impressive wall-to-wall library in Frankfurt that you treasured and accompanied you where ever you went will be safely kept in Lebanon for now.
You always believed that we live in a world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure; and so history, cultures, and past/present civilizations intrigued your curiosity; for that you travelled plenty globally from Asia, to Europe, the Middle East and North America. As a result you have gained a deeper perspective and comfort with most cultures and so you enjoyed living in a global environment.
The mystery of the mountains gave you peace and serenity. The trails of Everest in Nepal/Tibet, the Himalayas in India among other trails will deeply miss your footsteps.
Your academic achievements are stellar. You graduated with great honors from McGill University following a completion of a Bachelor of Science, in Honors Physiology. In Washington DC you graduated from the George Washington University School of Medicine. Your post-graduate training was completed at Mount Auburn Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. You later received an MBA from the prestigious IVEY business school in London Ontario.
Your career path is equally impressive highlighting a vast array of accomplishments. You never followed where the path may lead; instead you went where there was no path and left your own unique trail. Once you completed your residency in internal medicine your career began as a practicing physician in Boston and an assistant clinical professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School. As a physician patient welfare was your priority. You cared plenty for your patients and maybe sometimes too much. At the emerge where you did many rotations you disliked it when patients were identified by their bed number. Because of the care you gave your patients you were voted as a physician with amazing bedside manners and a keen eye for accurate diagnosis.
In 2006 you lead a team that restructured the teaching residency program for junior physicians in order to ensure efficiency and increase quality of medical care for patients. As a result patient mortality significantly decreased which was paralleled with an increase in patient satisfaction.
Khalil kinit hakim l 3aili wel ashab bi libnein w barra, many people have asked for your help, which you provided in confidence and discretion. In the past two weeks many many have shared their stories with us about how you have helped them. I wasn’t aware of the many things you have done and that is due to your extremely humble nature. You always believed that a person worth is through their actions and not words.
You found personnel fulfillment, reward and satisfaction as a teacher. Your students admired and praised you. We found many many thank you letters from your students while packing your things in Frankfurt; some of which are on display today. Your first major teaching role took place in 2003 when you grasped the opportunity to go to Nepal to help start a new medical school with affiliations to Harvard. You loved Nepal/Tibet and its people and so you returned to it twice later. You later lead efforts to establish a new curriculum in Critical care Medicine at Mount Auburn hospital in the Boston area.
Naturally, the area of human rights was of special and important interest of yours. This stemmed from political injustice you witnessed in your home country of Lebanon and your knowledge of Nepali colleagues that have been imprisoned for political beliefs. As a result, you became active with Physicians for human rights and amnesty international.
Your sensitivity to cultural issues, openness to the exchange of ideas and adherence to the ground rules of mutual respect later resulted in your multiple invitations to participate in workshops geared towards training physicians on how to successfully work abroad.
You were over the moon when you opened your own clinic in Lebanon Science MediSpa. This was your baby as you called it. Unfortunately, the political instability in Lebanon did not allow you to enjoy this dream. And finally, in the past two years you became Director of Strategic Planning, Global Business Development at Merck in Frankfurt Germany.
The Merck family will miss you deeply and have asked that I share these messages of memories about you:
I was immediately struck by Kevin's combination of characteristics that are rarely seen in one individual - very high intellect coupled with emotional intelligence and a striking connection with people. Upon first meeting Kevin, it felt like we were friends for years. It was a great honor to collaborate with Kevin, and most recently enjoy a team dinner and workshop together in Geneva. Kevin is acutely missed and there is no doubt that his positive imprint on me will be long lasting.
Stefan Meyer – Head of global portfolio management Oncology colleague and office neighbour
Kevin was always open for a chat, discussing a broad range of topics ranging from politics and culture to industry and business related themes. He was always friendly and open, extremely knowledgeable and interested. All of that with a good sense of humor. Despite the great successes he had and his achievements, he was a modest person without any arrogance.
For me, Kevin is not gone, as he will always stay in my memory. His family should be very proud of him, as he was an exceptional human being!
His Manager – Chris Meyer
I cannot tell you how sorry I am about Kevin’s tragic departure.
I recruited Kevin last year and really appreciated his unique professional profile and great personality. Kevin and I worked very closely since he joined the company. He supported the Strategic Planning Process and worked on many different topics, many of which he was very fond of. The work we did together was not always easy, but he always stayed focused and dedicated. As a result, he was really appreciated throughout the organization and developed very strong relationships. He was equally comfortable in working in immunology, fertility, neurology, oncology or general medicine. He had it ALL.
These days are really difficult for all of us. Seeing Kevin go so early saddens me greatly and feels very unjust. We will all miss him dearly.
Your close assistant and employee Samia from Lebanon writes:
I cry from the bottom of my heart for missing a very honest and good man. I really loved l Hakim and have never stopped talking about how good and nice a boss he was.
Baba ba3ref inno hasret 2albak 3ala ibnak kbeereih. You always helped an loved him and will continue to do so.
And so, although you have slipped away from us suddenly and too early, what you have achieved in a short period of time would have taken others a lifetime to achieve.
We are lucky to have known a beautiful soul like yours.
Although my brothers passing has shocked us to the core it has also put our lives at a stand still and made us look at each other, and reflect within to question on how can we be better people to achieve our own salvation. Regardless of the pain we are feeling in this very moment, this is a life of a young man fulfilled in its own right.
Paulo Coelho one of my brother’s favorite authors and mine writes:
“There is no point is asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs, you just accept them and carry on. We can’t choose our lives, but we can decide what to do with the joys or griefs we’re given”.
And so what we choose is that your wishes, your memory and how you want us to continue living will be honored and that is a promise. Your family will find peace, solidarity and cohesion all within your spirit. Your family with time will be happy.
Khilo: PS we all love you.