Let them know
Life's too short
By Fariba Amini
January 9, 2001
Her name was Heidi. She was an old friend of mine. I called to wish
her a happy New Year. Her son told me she had passed away the day after
Christmas. I didn't get a chance to say good bye. I was left with total
grief. She had lung cancer which she had struggled with for four years.
She was a heavy smoker.
Heidi was my neighbor when I lived in France. She was German. We used
to sit for hours on the shores of Lac Leman, near Switzerland and talk
until dawn. She had so much to tell.
Before World War II she had moved with her mother and sister from East
Germany to the West. When she was a teenager, she had met her future Arab
husband and moved to Kuwait. She considered herself more an Arab than a
German. He was much older. They had three children. Her eldest was mentally
handicapped. She raised them well.
They were wealthy but generous beyond imagination. They owned several
jewelry shops in Kuwait City. Her husband was a good man and they had adopted
three children from an orphanage. He passed away from diabetes.
Heidi was a philanthropist who never stopped helping others. You would
tell her someone was in need and she would give without hesitation. She
gave away a lot to the school where her eldest son was staying in Scotland,
a special school for the handicapped. She wanted to donate money to build
a school or a hospital in Iran. But we never got a chance to talk about
it further. She was too sick. Yet she would still call and give me advice.
She did not stop loving life.
I was too busy with everyday life in this country; bills, chores. I
was engulfed in nonsense. I had not called her in a while. And then when
I did, it was too late. I could not forgive myself. I still cry at the
thought of not saying good bye to Heidi.
Life is too short and friends and family are too precious. We should
not let days go by without telling them, wherever they may be, that we
care for them. Call them, or write to them, and just let them know that
they are special. These moments in life are more significant than the daily
routines we all have. At times, we tend to lose sight of the essence of
As I was sitting in the doctor's office today, with my 86-year-old father,
on a piece of paper he wrote a poem from Roudaki which said,"Be brave,
and grieve, but let not your grief take over but live with fortitude and
He was trying to comfort me as tears were coming down my face. And then
he apologized for taking my whole day away from work to take him to the
hospital. I said to myself, nothing is more worthwhile than doing this.
Life is too short. And nothing can replace friends and family.