Shadi Jamshidi

The Snow Has Melted, My Dear Shadi!

Shadi came with the snow on January 21, 1988: the first day of the Persian month of Bahman. It had started falling at high noon that day and made Tehran all white. Her parents were happy, seeing it as a good omen. The war ended a year later.

But when Shadi left, it left a fire burning in their broken hearts that no rain or snow could put out.

September 23, 1994. A smiling girl was going to school with her mother, where the latter worked. The girl’s name was Shadi. She would prove to be an excellent pupil, a credit to mother and her family. She got her high school diploma from Kherad School, came 700th in the national examination and went on to study chemical and petrochemical engineering at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University of Science and Technology.

But before the end of her first year there, Shadi’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. Together with her father, brothers and relatives, she bore the weight of her mother’s pain and suffering. When her mother was restless, her daughter’s heart beat fast too. It was a bad year for them all. Then the anxiety and strain was replaced with sorrow as her mother passed away.

Shadi became a good friend to her father. She kept the house warm and bright. Whenever someone was worried, she would tell them: “I’m here. Don’t worry.”

In 2010 Shadi travelled to Canada to pursue her studies at the University of Calgary’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. It was a cold town. The winters were heavy and long. But Shadi worked hard and endured all the difficulties to graduate with the highest possible grades. From there she went to Toronto to work for an international oil company. Two years later, her brother’s family also moved to Toronto. There was a nascent hope that the loneliness and hardship would come to end.

Shadi was thirsty for experience. She wanted to see the world. In her photographs she documented trips, camping excursions, sports and all of her most exciting and joyful moments. She loved nature and was kind to the environment. She enjoyed listening to music, reading books and going to the movies. Recently, she had fallen in love with a boy named Nima. The boy also loved Shadi sincerely. They were planning to start their shared life soon, under a lofty roof of dreams.

By now, Shadi had been away from Iran for six years. She was coming back to see the people, places and past that she missed. She wanted to hug her father, the man she spent most of her time with in Iran, like no daughter has ever hugged a father. “Home is the best place to be,” she always used to say.

Who would have thought that she would be sent to her eternal home so soon?

Came the dawn on Wednesday; that damned, dark Wednesday, January 8. The sun didn’t want to come up so as not to hear the cries of fathers, mothers, wives, husbands and children. Shadi hugged her father – one of those hugs. They smelled each other, kissed each other and left each other at the mercy of God: a God who had long turned unmerciful. Onwards to Toronto. Shadi boarded a plane that never reached its destination. Her flight became eternal.

They gave her father a body shrouded in a white piece of cloth and said it had been “human error”. This was Shadi, but she no longer is. The Shadi-that-was-but-no-longer-is was buried in Lavasan Cemetery, on the mountains in the embrace of nature. That day too was cold. The snow fell once more. But the hearts of those who attended were on fire: a fire that tore up all the way up to the sky.

Shadi came with the snow.

Shadi left with the snow.

After she is gone, the snow will fall again. But it will not bring Shadi.

Writer: Razie Ansari
Translator: Arash Azizi
Editors: Hannah Sommerville, Natasha Schmidt
With the support of

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