Yesterday I decided it was time to return the several calls of condolences I had received but had not answered. I thought I am ready to talk about it on the phone with people who knew my dad. It is not that simple, believe me. All of the calls were from relatives. Some in Iran. Some in USA. Mostly in USA. So, of all the calls, today, I returned two of them. Several are still unanswered. I will take care of them tomorrow and in the coming days. The sooner the better. Being late responding to condolences is considered rude in Persian culture. I guess it may be rude in all cultures. Seems 22 days of not responding back or acknowledging their shared sympathy is too long.
Today, first thing I said after greeting was presenting my condolences to the two people I called. My father's death is not just a loss for me, he had many friends. He was very much loved by his relative, far or close.
The first person I called today was my maternal aunt who lives in Northern California. Last time I saw her in person she shouted at me angrily for she said I must call my sick dad. She is still angry with me for not having called my father. It was obvious. I am not angry with myself about it. I do not expect other people to get it. She did not contact me in the wake of my father's death. Her husband left me a message. But, I called her anyways. She loved my father dearly. She is my mother's youngest sister and my father was somewhat an elder for her when she was in Iran. Anyways, I called her on her cellphone, I presented my condolences, she did not present any condolences back to me. She even did not attempt to ask me how I was doing. She is angry with me. We talked for a bit. She said she's going to Iran to visit family in the coming weeks. I envy her going to Iran. I wish I could go to Iran. I so wish I could be in Iran now.
The second person I called was a cousin of my father. I talked to her husband and herself. This cousin is 4-5 years younger than my dad. They were playmates when they were kids in Tehran. I presented my condolences to her. Let's call her Z. She is a nice and warm person. Z and her husband are of the few relatives I revealed I was queer when I came out of the closet nearly 2 years ago. They have been living in USA for 30 years now. Nice people. We talked for a long time. I cried, laughed and got excited while talking to her. She told me I should do colonoscopy for my father and uncle have both died of stomach cancer. She is a nurse. She told me she and her husband are going to Italy for the 4th of July holidays. Italy is nice.
I wish I was in Iran now.
Z told me about her brother who was in US thirty years ago when their father died in Iran. She told me since she'x heard of my father's death, she's been thinking of me and her brother's experience in US. She said when they called her brother from Iran to inform him of their father's death, her brother put the phone down in the middle of the phone conversation. For ten days, they could not reach her brother via phone from Iran. They got so worried. They had to finally ask other relatives in US to check on him. From what she said, my reaction has been quite similar to her brother.
When there is nobody to hug; nobody to cry with ; nobody to share with; mere presence of the phone -- the beguiling phone -- is a constant reminder of the sheer convenience of "reaching" you for all those "fortunate" people living in Tehran who are mourning together, holding each other, hugging each other, eating together, going to mosque together, and are going to Behesht-e-Zahra (major public graveyard of city of Tehran) together. It is maddeningly annoying if not disturbingly unfair. You start hating the phone. You start hating all sort of communications. And, every little thing becomes a reminder of how deeply fucked you are. My defense mechanism lead me to sleep. I slept most of days during the first seven days. I seldom left home.
Tomorrow I should be calling more people.