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November 24, 2003


*'s mother died

My mother Shirin Bakhtiar has died. She was living alone in Calpe, a small town in Spain.

I took a nap this afternoon. The phone's ringer was off, as it usually is. When I woke up, I saw this on my computer screen:

It was from my sister, Iran. I knew it was something bad. Something had happened. Mom had been ill for the past week. Chest pains. When I spoke to her last week, she sounded upbeat. She had seen a doctor and was taking her medication and was feeling much better. She was excited about publishing a book of her short stories. The only thing she complaiend about was that she could not get the BBC channel. "I HATE CNN," she said.

There's so much to say about my mother. I don't know how people usually react when their parents pass away. I guess everyone is different. But when my father died, there was a delayed reaction. At 14, I was too young to comprehend death. Now at 41, I'm still not sure what it all means. I just know something huge has happened. And I'm just trying to contain myself.

There's a lot for me to think about and remember and comprehend and accept and appreciate. But here's something for you to know: would not have been without her. Literally.

My mother liked to change her name every once in a while. Her last was Kristopher Kolumbus. You can also read her work under Burntoast, Bakhtiari Rose, Rose Ghajar and White Cloud. One of my favorites is "Paris heartbeats in an orange glow". But I will remember her most by her paintings. These are some examples.

I can still see myself hiding behind the bushes in the back of our house in Abadan, watching her paint.

-- Jahanshah Javid

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