I have been sitting, staring at my damn computer screen for what seems like an eternity unable to get my fingers to move until just this very moment. The hush and stillness of yet another sorrow-filled night loudly rings in my ears as my mind gropes for a way to express that which I want and need to say. For the past forty-three days I have existed in a sort of mental and emotional suspended animation.
For the first time in my fifty-seven years, I feel as if I am about to crumble from within.
Forty-three days ago, my wife and I buried our only son. Although he was a teenager, he was our baby. He was his mother’s bright and shining angel and he was my best friend. I feel so broken and empty because now that I have had time to replay his short life in my mind a hundred thousand times, I don’t think that I told him enough just how much I loved him and how very much he meant to me. The thing that hurts the most is that I know that there’s nothing I can ever do to change any of that now. If God would give me just an hour to sit with my son and tell him goodbye, I would be willing to pay any price, but I know that is not going to happen.
For the past forty days since we laid our baby to rest, my wife and I have become strangers. There is simply nothing that either one of us can say to relieve the suffering of the other. Sorrow and tears fill my wife’s days and while I try to stay strong for her and to comfort her as much as I can, I know my efforts are ineffectual. The wall of silence between us just seems to grow larger and larger each day.
What can I say to this broken hearted mother who carried my son inside her body for nine precious months so many years ago that will take away the pain she is going through? Nothing…there is nothing that I can say that will ever mend her broken heart, nor can she mend mine. Our world has been shattered and I don’t know if our love is strong enough to put those broken shards of our life back together.
I have always tried to live my life in control of everything. I have prided myself in being a strong and loving husband and father, but it seems these days I can’t pull myself together completely. My inner strength has been melted away by a sadness that’s more severe than anything I could have ever imagined.
People keep telling me that it takes time to get over the death of a loved one, but what do they know. I want to scream that it isn’t normal for a father and mother to bury their child. My son was supposed to bury me, then his motherÖbut never in our wildest imaginations could we have envisioned that we would be the ones to bid him farewell.
God knows that the pain and sorrow I have felt for the past six weeks is ripping my heart apart. I want to cry, I want to scream, but neither will change a damn thing. It won’t bring him back and it won’t relieve my suffering. The only thing that makes me feel better for short periods of time is when I think about how much happiness he brought to our lives.
Our son came to us late in our marriage. I was forty-two and my wife was thirty-nine when we discovered she was pregnant. We had been married for fourteen years by then and had accepted the fact that we would probably be childless. For years we had tried unsuccessfully to have children, and just when we had given up, God gave us the most joyous surprise we could have imagined, a precious baby boy my wife was so excited and happy during her pregnancy. She would sing and play Persian music in our home all the time, thinking that our baby could hear it. She decorated a room for him and she planned everything that she would teach him about his Persian heritage long before he was even born.
During the first five years of his life, I don’t think I ever heard my wife speak English to him although she spoke it to me every day. The result was that by the time he headed off to kindergarten, he spoke two first-languages. All through his short, but marvelous life he carried within his sweet heart a love for the Persian people that always amazed me and filled his mother’s heart with pride. He was the light of our lives and he was the light of his baba bozorg’s life in Iran. I am glad now that my father-in-law past away last year because I don’t know how we would have been able to break this kind of news to him.
My son had a remarkable relationship with his grandfather in Iran. One of the things that give me a small degree of comfort now is that I never tried to interfere with my wife instilling a deep sense of Persian pride in our boy and I always made enough money to allow her and my son to make at least one and sometimes two trips back to Tehran every year. The bond between my sweet boy and his gentle and loving grandfather is something that will always bring a smile to my face, even in the saddest and darkest hours of my life.
One of the few things that hurt my son tremendously the last few years of his life was the fact that he wasn’t considered a ëreal Iranian’ because I wasn’t Iranian. Yes, he spoke Farsi (or as he often corrected me, Parsi) fluently, he loved the music, food, and most importantly in the last year of his life, the beauty of Persian girls, and he traveled back and forth with his mother to Iran more than twenty-five times in his life to visit family, but the Iranian government called him a foreigner.
I wish I could tell those ignorant government officials that my beautiful boy, who had ten-thousand years of Persian blood running through his veins, loved Iran and Iranians with all of his very-Persian-heart-and-soul, and he loved them unconditionally till the very last breathe that he drew in this life, although those that he loved so absolutely rejected him as they do all the children of Iranian mothers married to non-Iranian fathers.
At his funeral, my wife had Ey Iran played. As it played softly in the background, she tenderly kissed his coffin and spoke to him in Farsi the kind of words that only an emotionally devastated and broken-hearted mother would dare speak. At his gravesite, she poured a jar of soil from Iran that she had collected and had been saving for her own future burial on his coffin.
Our baby is gone from us and he is never coming back. God knows how it hurts me to even type such terrible words. He will never get the one thing he truly wanted in life, to be able to call himself a ‘real Iranian,’ like his mother and grandfather. This is one of those things in life that is completely out of my control and I can’t change it, but to his mother and me, he is and will always be more Iranian than those who treated him and who treat the children of other Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers with such disdain.
To me, my precious boy was and will always be the best ëreal Iranian I ever knew regardless of whatever anyone else thinks or says to the contrary. His mother and I will always love him and miss him more than either of us can possibly say.