My Daughter Negar Was Only 30 Years Old
B like barf (Persian for snow).
B like Bogrhei.
She has left behind the most vivid memorabilia: Her recorded voice, as she narrates the story of Auntie Cockroach, a Persian fairy tale; the scent of an orange she could peel very well at the age of two.
A little girl full of joy and passion, full of ideas and kindness, but sometimes a little grumpy. People her age envied her, and on her office door, there was no number, only “Negar.” After she got a Bachelors’ degree in nutrition sciences, she got a job as a nutrition advisor in one of the best-known sports complexes in Tehran, which was called “the Good Sense of Life.” When she left, many of her customers spoke of her positivity, her constant habit of helping them.
When she put her black eyes behind a camera, the pictures that came out in magazines and journals were astonishing. Her dreams knew no end. Her desires from life were as high as the Alvand mountain. When the season for black mulberries came, I know Negar would fill her basket for basketball players. I know her translation of a book on physical fitness during pregnancy will be of help to the infants of the land of Iran, even though she never lived to become a mother herself.
Negar had faith that difficult journeys must be made. The difficulty of the path ahead didn’t deter her. She stood alone and with hard work and zeal bore the brunt of migration.
In 2017, she came to Canada and started at McGill University. But she was also determined to follow up my affairs in Tehran. A month after that horrid event, in my first encounter with their untouched apartment in Toronto, I saw a to-do list she had left on her white desk: To follow up on mother’s book.
I had the chance to meet Dr Suzanne Fortier, the principal of McGill University. With tears in her eyes, she spoke of Negar’s good leadership, determination and persistence. It was clear that she remembered many details about her. According to her friends and classmates, in group projects, Negar did most of the presentation and research. I could hear Negar’s voice in my ears: “Mother! My wish for all Iranian youth is to experience studying in the best universities of the world.”
In these days, when I see my Negar’s messages, the flames of love and the remorse of separation extends all the way to the heavens.
“My Beautiful Maman,
You dear of my heart,
Every day I learn more about what an angel God has given me. I hope to deserve you and to one day pay back all this sacrifice and kindness. I love you very much.”
I spoke of the mountain of her wishes going over the heights of Alvand. This line from the great poet Hafez speaks of what bound her to Alvand:
“The temptation of a cup of wine; of Negar’s luscious lock of hair / Many, like Alvand, have been tempted to do to the forbidden.”
Meeting Alvand was a turning point in her life. They both put their energy and passion toward building a better life. They worked together on a nutrition website: Negar’s knowledge in nutrition and Alvand’s knowledge of computers was a beautiful combination.
The early hours of January 8, 2020. Oh God, I have a strange sense. We are happy because the war is yet to break. The kids can go back to their lives. But we are still filled with fear and anxiety. I remember 27 years ago, when a missile hit a plane and I lost my niece Sara.
I try to be strong.
Alvand had his arms open and wanted a hug. This was his perennial beautiful habit. That night, standing by the gate, I held Alvand’s coat in my hands. I didn’t want to leave it. He hugged me again.
In my heart, I left them with the almighty and said goodbye. I look at the last message we exchanged.
“With the grace of God, shall you have a good flight, my daughter ♥”
“Mother! Let me love you more than anyone could.”