And here it is, I can finally write about you Baba…
There is nothing so heart ranching as hearing a widow talk to a freshly laid grave stone… “what will I do without you, who will read poetry to me now?”
Mom uttered those words as if she was singing. The familiar way she “sang” her thoughts out loud for all those who had left her. She rubbed the tomb stone over Baba's picture, cried as hard as I have ever heard her cry, and talked to Baba.
They got married 49 years ago. They had three kids, me in the middle, a younger sister and an older sister. We lived in a nice house in a new suburb of Tehran for the most of our lives. The house stood until two years ago, when it was torn down to an upgraded apartment complex.
Our life was simple and as normal as it could get. Happy childhood, parents around all the time with mom at home and dad working. I left home to come to America at 17 and things were never going to be the same again.
Baba became depressed for letting his only son leave. Mom dealt with the household and the anger and depression of a father letting his son go so far away. He started smoking and drank more than he should have.
For 28 years that I was away from home, I saw Baba four times. None more than 40 days stretch. So I counted that he was my father, in flesh, for no more than 15 years, at least for what I remember. In spirit, he was a father and plus more. He was a wise, kind, and giving man. His last name, Bakhsheshi (giver or forgiver), was abused by many including himself. He was a true man, an honest man, and had many friends who adored him. He was respected in many communities he lived, worked and vacationed.
His car hit the center divider in a badly designed piece of road right outside of East Tehran. He died quickly from injuries to his head. He was running an errand for his old boss, whom didn't trust anyone else to do so. To the last moment of his life, he was doing favors for another, who couldn't get around.
The trip home to attend the funeral and be with my family was surreal. Much like seeing every one in black, having hundreds of people come to me and tell me how great of a man he was, the funeral, his tomb, and above all, his absence.
It still hasn't set with me that he is not there. The telephone number I had called for years, relied on his voice to be heard is virtually useless now. Mom is at one of the sister's for the most part and the house and its contents, including the telephone just sits there.
I try to win the battle here, so far away. The battle with guilt that is one of the toughest I have ever had to fight. Trying to get used to the fact that he is not there any more and the fact that I can't hear his voice over the phone nor will I ever see him in the airport in Tehran, right in the front row of the many family members who come to greet me… all hard, all not what I want to go through. But I don't have a choice.
In the meanwhile, there are many things I am getting used to, being sadder person, getting sick and tired of asking questions, “why”, and the blurry images of trees and streets, while driving. There is nothing quite like the images from behind your tears, when you drive. Worrying about what other drivers think and worrying about not seeing the road in front of you clearly. I try hard to hide it from my wife but the times I fail, she still asks, “What's wrong honey”?
Like many other things, I'll get used to him being gone. I will probably start singing, just under my breath, quietly, not making much sense, how much I miss him, just like mom has for decades. I finally understand how much she missed her father and why she still mourns him.
In the meanwhile, Baba, I have always been proud of you. For being a descent father, a great man, and a wonderful human being. There aren't many like you. If I'm compared to you and your mannerism, I'm filled with honor.
I'll always miss you. As many believe, you and Amoo are together with shovels in hand, just tearing the heaven's soil upside down to plant something. If there is a God and Heaven, they got two of the hardest working gardeners ever.