The apartment building on the left is the home my Jeddo (grandfather) built for his family to live in, in Beirut, Lebanon.
Under our building
I will never forget the howls and the screams that filled our home in London, one day in April 1996. I was seven. I remember my mum and my aunt cuddled on the couch, paralysed with grief.
These were the flowers Setté (grandmother) used to pick for me on walks together, it's called, "the fish's mouth"
Setté and I together in the Cedar reserves in Lebanon, almost two years before she was killed.
Summer at the apartment, 1995
Setté never opened the door to anyone. She would ask who it is first, have a look through the peephole to make sure who it was. Every time the doorbell rings, I do the same.
How did no one hear her?
During that time, Amanat, who lived on the first floor, asked her daughter Rasha to take some food up to my grandmother, whilst the power cut. This meant walking up five flights of stairs, "definitely not am I walking up five flights of stairs!", they argued. At noon, when the power came back, Amanat heard shouting inside the building, screaming, grief echoing the walls outside her door. Amanat walked up the second flights of stairs, then the third, and as the screams got louder and louder, she ran back downstairs.
During the time she was killed, Jeddo (grandfather)was under our building, waiting for the electricity to come back on.
Day after day, Samar, one of my aunts would have television stations knock on our door wanting interviews from my Jeddo. She never let them in.
Jeddo waits for the power to come on during a power cut in Beirut
When I open that cupboard, it still smells the same way it did 20 years ago
On a stopover to Beirut at the airport to bury Setté, Mum was crying, my sister Nour, who was four years old at the time, asked her, "why are you crying Mummy? She's sitting right up there"
Setté a few days before she died, photo sent on Whatsapp from my Mum
When I look back at all the footage, old photos of the summer of 1996, we had so many visitors and family at the apartment after she died. I always wondered, how did they feel having coffee or sitting down in a crime scene? Mum said "you get to survive that episode and help bring life back into the house which was cherished by her. "
My sister Nour sits in my uncle Youssef's garden in Bekaa, Lebanon. His villa was named after Setté "Villa Khadouj"
After Setté died, Mum rarely took home videos of us anymore, it seemed redundant, who would she send them to now?
Her tablecloths still cover the tables at the apartment
My cousin Jana never met Setté
After my Jeddo (grandfather) passed away, I lived alone in the apartment for two years. Ramzi, my then boyfriend (now husband) would sometimes have to come and check the house to make sure there were no intruders after I heard noises.