A Long Distance Phone Call
I am forty five years old and live in Hawaii. For the last twenty seven years, I have been away from Iran enjoying western culture and lifestyle. Since there are very few Iranians who live in Hawaii, I rarely get a chance to interact with Iranians. In the last ten years, most of my relatives who used to live in Iran have either left Iran or passed away. As a result I have no contact with anyone in Iran. I could have never imagined it to be like this. As bad as it may sound, I have gotten used to it and my life goes on.
Until now, I have never had the chance to tell any Iranians about the painful lesson that I received on April 12, 1984. This may be my only chance. That day I received a call from Tehran. It was my father. He sounded different. I could hear a lot of noise in the background. He asked me how I was doing. I did not hear the same enthusiasm in his voice that I was used to hearing. I told him that I was fine and everything was okay. I asked him about the noise in the background. He told me some of the family and friends were there because Khanoom Joon (grandma) was not feeling well. I said, I hoped it was nothing important. I told him it was nice to have everybody there and asked about the others. But my dad continued to talk about Khanoom Joon. He said she had not been feeling well lately and had been going to doctors. I became silent and listened to his trembling voice and the background noise. He continued by saying that it did not look good. I felt cold and could not say anything. I thought I could hear crying in the background. I did not dare asking him the obvious question. Finally I asked him once more about all the noise. This time he said my aunts were worried about Khanoom Joon and were crying. He went on and said that I needed to be strong and remember the good times. I gathered whatever strength I could find in me and asked him to tell me the truth. He broke down and started crying and told me that it was all over. I started crying and asked about the details. We talked for awhile and he kept reminding me to be strong and look forward to the future. After a while, we hung up. It all seemed very unreal. No, it was not true. How could it be possible? She was so nice and sweet and healthy...... A thousand things rushed to my mind. I just could not understand it or accept it. I did not know what to do. I sat alone in the living room and tried to comprehend death .... It was my First ....
It took a while before I understood that there was nothing that one could do when confronted with the loss of a loved one except to accept it and to continue living. It took a longer time to realize that death is part of existence. Without death life loses its meaning and value. Since that day in April 84, I have heard about the loss of other relatives and each time the pain that I experience is less. Now I have learned to appreciate life for what it is and accept death for what it is not.
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