Sometimes a loss is the best reminder of the value in what we have. I came to realize this as my family and I mourned the loss of yet another beloved.
Alam-joon was not just the senior member of the Ghahremani family, or the last living family member of her generation. She was quite an icon. At ninety-five, she possessed an incredibly sharp mind and continued to reign from her bed in Tehran over the extended family across the globe. In her cute vanity, I can picture her to the end, selecting a floral robe to wear around the house, a soft pink nightgown for bed and even a dab of her favorite, Chloe perfume behind the ears. A devout Muslim, I can also picture her whispering her daily prayers, albeit unable to stand up and face Mecca. But above all, I will forever remember her contribution to my family. As my loving children gather around to help their parents cope with the loss of Grandma, once again I treasure the love we share and silently express my deep gratitude to Alam Joon for bringing my Gary to this world and spreading the genes through our good children.
When the sad news arrived, Gary dealt with it in the way he has always dealt with great loss. He turned utterly silent – if not short-tempered. Our children, forsaking their busy schedules huddled around us and offered what they could. Lilly brought coffee, made tea and constantly offered to do more. Susie took over the kitchen and worked hard all day, adding her artist’s touch to every platter. Cyrus took the first train down from LA and not only did the touch up and enlargement of Grandma’s pictures, I found him cleaning up in the kitchen. Michael brought flowers and later bought dinner for us. Taking it all in, I was filled with deep gratitude for a family that would not have happened without Alam-Joon.
In everyone’s life, there are a few characters that will live with grandeur years after they are gone. I know my late mother-in-law’s memory will never die. In her unique elegance, she will be remembered for a variety of reasons. While the family continued to obey her from afar, her subtle humor was what I admired the most. “I am the last one standing, you know?” she used to joke, “Guess they’ve lost my file up there!”
As we mourn her loss, I’d like to picture a party “up there” given by Baba Sharif and with all the aunts and uncles present. I can see her in an elegant sequined dress, her hair perfectly coiffed, red lipstick shining. She is sitting in a rose garden and asking someone to take her picture. It’s a picture I would like to keep.