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 (equivalent of Capricorn). It had started snowing at noon that day, covering Tehran in a white blanket. Her parents were telling each other joyfully that it was a good omen, and so it was! The [8 years long Iran-Iraq] war ended less than half a year later.
But when Shadi left, it left a fire burning in their broken hearts that no rain or snow could extinguish.
On September 23, 19941, a smiling girl, holding her mother’s hand, was going to school where her mother worked. The girl’s name was Shadi. She would prove to be an excellent pupil, making her mother and family proud. She got her high school diploma from Kherad High School, came 700th in the national university entrance exam, and went on to study chemical and petrochemical engineering at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University of Science and Technology.
However, before the end of her first year at university, 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, Shadi’s heart palpitated. They all spent a bad year. Then the anxiety and restiveness were transformed into sorrow with the passing of her mother.
Shadi became a good friend to her father. She kept the house warm and bright. Whenever someone expressed a feeling of worry, she would respond, “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. Although Calgary is a cold city with long and harsh winters, Shadi worked hard and endured all the difficulties to graduate with the highest honours. From there, she moved to Toronto to work for an international oil company. Two years later, she sponsored her brother’s family’s immigration to Toronto, hoping that the days of loneliness and hardship would come to an end.
Shadi was thirsty and yearning for experience. She wanted to travel all around and see the world. She documented her trips, camping excursions, sporting events, and all her most exciting and joyful moments in her photos. She loved nature and was considerate and respectful of 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, who loved Shadi back sincerely. They were planning to start their shared life soon, under one of lofty roofs of hopes and dreams.
After being away from Iran for six years, Shadi returned to visit the people, the places, and the past that constituted her memories. She wanted to hug her father, like no daughter had ever hugged a father. She spent most of her time with her father and kept saying, “Home is the best place to be”. Who would have thought that soon she would be seized by her eternal home?
The dawn of Wednesday, that very cursed, dark Wednesday of January 8, 2020, when the sun didn’t want to rise to avoid hearing 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 God’s mercy, hoped for the protection of a God who had long stopped providing protection. She boarded a flight destined for Toronto, a flight which never reached that destination. Yet, her flight became eternal.
They gave her father a body shrouded in white and explained the whole tragedy away as “human error”. This shrouded body was Shadi, who no longer is. The Shadi-that-was-but-no-longer-is was buried in Lavasan Cemetery, on the foot of a mountain embraced by the cold nature. That day too, was cold, and it was snowing. The hearts of those who attended, however, were on fire: a fire whose flames reached all the way up to the sky.
Shadi came into this world with the snow.
Shadi departed the world with the snow.
After she was gone, it still snows, but the snow will never again bring Shadi2 & Joy!
1 First day of autumn when the schools reopen after summer break in Iran
2 Shadi in Persian means Joy