Sanad Elfirjani and his family used to call Libya home, but they say long-time leader Moammar Khaddafy drove them out.
But Khaddafy could not keep them from going back to Elfirjani's native country earlier this year to join the rebel fight.
On Sunday, Elfirjani's father, Ibrahim, marched into Tripoli.
"I hope that I am going to be dreaming, and wake up tomorrow morning and none of this is happening," Elfirjani, 27, said Sunday from his Orland Park home.
Libyan rebels have since claimed 95 percent of Tripoli. As of Monday afternoon, there was no sign of Khaddafy, whose regime appears to be nearing an end.
Elfirjani and his mother have closely watched the latest news about rebel forces serving a big blow to the man who Elfirjani says separated him from his father for 16 years.
Months ago, when Elfirjani's family got the news that rebel forces were rising up against Khaddafy, he and his father, a former member of Libya's Special Forces, joined the fight. Weeks later, Elfirjani returned to Orland Park to care for his mother, while his father stayed behind.
It was Ibrahim Elfirjani and other rebels on the front line who gave Elfirjani updates about their advance into Tripoli.
"The news ... gives me chills right now," Elfirjani said.
"For the last 43 years of his life [Ibrahim Elfirjani was] trying to defeat and bring down this tyrant, and now he is getting what he dreamed of."