My Mother


My Mother
by Multiple Personality Disorder

On her wedding day she had a toothache, my father always teased her about it, this was when she was merely a teenager.  By the time she was in her thirties she had lost all her teeth and had to wear dentures the rest of her life.  Over the years she had eleven children.  The first born, a son, pride of the family, but it was not to be.  He died of a mysterious illness at an early age.  Many other infants died that year, including my aunt‘s, my mother's sister, who my mother dearly love.  They never knew what was killing the babies, perhaps cholera, but why did it only killed babies, and not the others?  They often ask.  Sanitary conditions did not exist in Abadan back then.  Their first dwelling they built themselves with empty gasoline tin cans filled with clay dust, staked one on top of the other to form walls.  They didn‘t have running water or sanitary sewer.  Their bathroom was a hole, concealed from others by a meager wall, in the impermeable soil, deposited by shat that had formed the land over millenniums.  Someone less fortunate than them had to haul away this vilest human secretion to a sewer ditch near by, since the impervious soil and high ground water would not allow it to infiltrate into the ground.  That was how Mother, and the others, lived in those early days, while the men work in what eventually became the largest refinery in the world.

My mother had one baby wrapped up in a crib, held another in her arm while kept an eye on another toddler running around too dangerously near an open bread pit in the ground, all the while being pregnant with another.  She wiped poop off the floor faster than superwoman could raise her arm, before the foul smell could spoil the aroma of freshly baked bread.  She must have washed my ass for many years before I learned how.  I don't know when it was that I stopped asking, nanah beyo konemo beshoor, but I remember, when I was older, how the younger ones asked for the same.

I was a sickly child, puny most of my adolescent life.  I was inflicted with chronic tonsillitis, always having diarrhea, later being hospitalized for kidney disease, puny all around.  I wish I could tell her I'm not sick anymore, that I play soccer and go mountain biking in my middle age, but I can’t.  She is not here no more.  I don't remember when she died, I don't remember the date.  I don't want to remember that day that I am supposed to remember, that awful day when the phone call came.  An untimely death.  Her heart had given up at the end, for all the years of hard work, in a minibus overloaded with people in their way to their lives.  She was returning from a visit to see her grandchildren when a fight broke out between two passengers in the minibus, their was shouts of profanity, a fist fight, passenger screaming, and standing people falling on others.  The men never knew their childish quarrel ended up killing a woman that was loved by many.

She didn’t know what retirement was meant to be.  Every morning, she routinely walked to local shops and bought fresh bread, Bulgarian cheese, and halva.  She made tea for Father, who survived her death by many years, still praising her name to his last day.  She made tea for her youngest son who was in his thirties still chosen to stay unmarried so he could take care of Mother, and Father, at their old age.  The youngest son not wanting to get married, not wanting any wife of his possibly being disrespectful to the matriarch of the family, as there was a bride who had dared to do, and so for ever lost respect of the family, since she was the pampered ones, the one that didn’t know what it took to bring us to where we stood.  My brother could not bear the thought, and so that’s how it is back home, a son, a daughter, taking caring of the old.

I was only twenty two when I left the first time, never again having the chance to be close to her, except for that awful time at the end of the war when I returned to find a way to stay, but the missiles kept coming and she asked me, she wanted me to leave, to go to a place where I did not belong.  I was fearful for my life, but didn’t want to leave the others behind, till one brother told me it's her way of making sure at least one of her hatchlings will survive, if others died.  He was so clever in explaining the unspeakable.

After all these years, the grief still lingers.  I miss her, and all the others.


Recently by Multiple Personality DisorderCommentsDate
ناگهان، شاهین نجفی Suddenly, a song by Shahin Najafi
Nov 13, 2012
Universal Love
Oct 01, 2012
Shahin Najafi, When...
Sep 02, 2012
more from Multiple Personality Disorder


by yolanda on

Hi! MPD,

       This is my favorite story so far. I am deeply touched by your youngest brother's and your mom's kindness! They made sacrifice to take care of other family members. Your story has left me indelible impression on the great human spirit of the Iranian is so sad to hear what happened to your mom....the second paragraph from the bottom is super sad also 'cause in order to survive the war, you and your mom had to be is like a movie scene.....

    I found this story by accident, I got Friday off, so I had read enough and it is still pretty early, so I decided to read some old is why I am here....I truly hope you and your families have a lot blessings both in Heaven and on the earth.




Beautiful tribute

by MJ (not verified) on

Khoda rahmateshoon koneh. Beautiful tribute.
Most mothers - like yours - are so selfless and kind one cannot belive it... but... unfortunately there are a few that do not deserve to be called a mother.
I am a social worker.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Thank you all for reading, and those who might read later

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

I wish all the good mothers out there a wonderful day with your children.



by Ruhi on




Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez


by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I know that you experience great sorrow from time to time and have some regrets.

However, as long as we continue to remember those that have gone before us......they will never be gone......forever will they live in our hearts and memories.



MPD, This was a great

by desi on

MPD, This was a great tribute to your maman for mother's day.  She sounds like a matriarch whose shoes couldn't be filled.  Mother's from every culture and every walks of life are certainly to be adored.  There's something about an Iranian mother, perhaps the experience I had with my own that makes an Iranian mother so exceptional.   


Dear MPD

by Monda on

Think about: What would she say to you if she were here today? What would she say to you if you translated your affectionate tribute for her? 

I know how the grief lingers.

Your mother sounds like an incredibly strong woman. Thanks for sharing a piece of her here with us.  


Red Wine


by Red Wine on

مادر! از عرش یقین آیت احسان داری

پرتویی در دل خود از ره خوبان داری

من در این وادی مستی به جوانی ماندم

تو در این غفلت من عزت عرفان داری

من ز خودخواهی خود سخت نمودم راهت

تو مرا زین همه ایثار چه حیران داری

شامگه باز آمد لیک در این افکارم

که به هر درد و غمی یک می درمان داری

خام در کودکی و تشنه ز این دریایم

تو ورای سخنم قدرت و ایمان داری

ره دیگر چو روم حیف نمودم فکرت

تو مگر ای دل من فرصت جبران داری؟


ممنون از بلاگ.


I have always wondered why we have to have a special day.

by Tahirih on

since these special days make the ones who do not have a mother upset, but after reading your blog I thought that it would be nice if on mother's day my children  remember me,even if I am no longer around.

I feel your pain since even though my mother is alive I have spent most of my adulthood without her around. At this moment we are a world apart.

Happy mother's day to all mothers whether here or not!


Azarin Sadegh

You're making me laugh and cry...

by Azarin Sadegh on

You've captured her love and your devastation and grief so I like to cry with you...

Anahid Hojjati

Dear MPD, what a touching tribute to your mom

by Anahid Hojjati on

MPD jan, your tribute to your mom brought tears to my eyes.  The way you have written about your mom, I can almost see her hard at work taking care of home and the kids.  At the end, you wrote about how your mom wanted you to leave Iran in late 1980s.  I have to say that one great service that some women in 1980s in Iran did; not only for their kids but in some cases for their nephews and nieces, was to do everything in their power so their loved ones would leave Iran for safer lands.   

Nazy Kaviani


by Nazy Kaviani on

There is never a "good" time to lose one's parents. As they grow older, they become more and more precious and in our middle ages, just as things start looking really equal and the friendship becomes real and knowing, we least want them gone. Doctor's visits, hospitalizations, daily care of aging people, the dentures, the walkers, and the orthopedic beds, none of them seem reason or excuse enough for us to let go of our new-found friends, the equals. Alas, it is only natural and fair for parents to die before their children--this is how they would want it.

Your mother sounds like a very special woman and you have remembered her poignantly and so affectionately. This may be a day when you are reflective and longing. On this day and on the other days when you are touching other people's lives through your emotions, your humor, your friendship, and your love, you should remember that a group of other people, most of whom your mother never got to know, are grateful for the opportunity of your life and your friendship. That is what your mother was talking about when she asked you to leave.

Happy Mother's Day to yours and mine, sitting in a beautiful fruit orchard on a takht, drinking tea and looking on to the ones that survived and became capable of love.

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

A Mother's Prayer

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on