When my dad died
I looked at his house, his room, his garden
By Mandana Ahsani
October 20, 2003
When my dad died, I was far away from him, miles
and miles away from
him. When my dad died, he did not have anybody from his family
him. I was not there to hold his hand and hear his prayers. I
far away that it took me two days to get there and see his lifeless
body. When my dad died, I was so entangled in my useless life
did not understand the depth of the tragedy, of what happened
to me... that
now I have became an orphan, that I have lost my daddy...
His journey towards his death started five months
earlier, when he had a
stroke. When my mom called to give me the news, I thought I
him already. He was in the ICU and I thought I had lost him.
I asked my
mom to keep him alive till I get there. Then, I packed my luggage
with my then 3-year-old son went home, to his hospital bed.
went to see him right away.
I now remember him and his face vividly. It was
3 o'clock in the
morning, I begged the nurse to let me see him and she let me
in the room
for 5 minutes. His eyes shined with tears, he had question
in his eyes,
as if he was asking me what I was doing there. I kissed his
kissed his eyes, I kissed his forehead and I said to him not
and that I would take care of everything. I said to him I would
take care of him.
I stayed with him for four months. He never recovered
from his stroke. I remember the first month or so when I used
to cry myself to
sleep at nights. I would listen to the clock's tic tac and try to sleep
so that I would have the energy to go the hospital in the morning.
There were times I could not bear seeing him in there. One day, I
sneaked my son into the hospital, so that he could visit his youngest
grandson. My dad cried, I wiped out a tear that rolled from the corner
of his eyes. My son said grandpa has a booboo in his nose? And I said
A couple of times I put him in a wheelchair
and took him down to the hospital yard. It was spring then.
Couple of times, we got to
watch the rain together. I told him it had been fifteen years
since I had seen spring in Tehran. Couple of times, he tried to talk
to me. But, he had no voice, he could not talk. I told him what
had happened, and I assured him I was in control and not to worry about
anything. He would just look at me, with those big colorful eyes. We
would hold hands, I would stroke his beautiful big white hands. Those
were the hands that used to hold me when I was a kid. I used to think
he had the largest hands.
When I took him back to the hospital the second
time, he was unconscious, he was almost gone. I held his hands
and said to him not
to resist it, I was crying like hell, I could not bear see him suffer so
much. I wanted him to be relieved. But he fought it, and he got over
the pneumonia and the infection and a host of other problems. I think, at that
time he still wanted to live, he still had the desire to live.
Yet, he never fully recovered. He only got weaker
and weaker, and went down into his own world. And, then we had
leave. The night I had to
say goodbye, he looked into my eyes and his eyes filled up with tears.
We held hands for a long time, I told him I had to go, that the kids had
to go back to school, that I will be back real soon, and I would see him
real soon. He just held my arms with his good hand and looked into my
eyes, and I asked him to kiss me, and he did so, or he tried to,
and then he closed his eyes, and I left him. I did not look back; I
just left him.
A month later, I got the call. He passed away,
his heart stopped beating, without me being there, without me
holding his hand. I went
home again, this time without my child. All alone, I went back to bury
When I looked at his house, his room, his garden
with those orange, plum and walnut trees, I wanted to scream
world and cry hard; I wanted to tell everyone that my dad had died, that
he had left his little girl alone in this world, that now I had
to fight all
the demons of my life alone, that I was feel lonely, scared and hopeless...
But I didn't. I packed his house, took care of his funeral, gave
belongings, locked up his house and came back home. And this time, I
came home all alone...
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