This is an essay I wrote in January of 2018, after losing my mother. My personal experience with Covid-19 has unearthed a grief similar to the one I felt after her death. I hope these words, can be balm of care for the grief we collectively face now.
Growing up, there was a beautiful and generous gol-e abrisham (Persian Silk Tree) that grew outside our home. During the late summer when the tree was in bloom, my mother and I would spend hours under the tree, drinking tea in the traditional way with a sugar cube wedged between our teeth.
We would bask in the unique and intoxicating aroma of gol-e abrisham, as she told me stories of back home. As a child, I would ask my mother why the flower could smell so divine, but the taste not compare to the smell. My mother used to say, the medicine of gol-e abrisham was through smell, that like a memory, it couldn't be fully captured or remembered.
This past summer, my mother was sent to the hospital by her oncologist to be kept for observation. After eight years of unexpected hospital visits we had become very familiar with the ER doctors. Once my mother had been given fluids, we pleaded with Dr. Patel to let us go home and enjoy the beautiful evening. She agreed, and like a band of children we pushed my mother in her wheel chair as fast as we could, laughing and screaming about our successful break out mission.
As we turned the corner, we came upon a magnificent gol-e abrisham. The mood was joyous; we gathered under the tree, and harvested in wonderment. My mother recited Persian folklore about the flower to my child, who sat on her lap as we watched the sun set. Once home, we steeped the flowers in brandy, not knowing then that it would be the last medicine I'd make with my Mother.
Now as a I grieve your loss, you are with me. Your hands woven into the medicine bringing me comfort, as if you are hugging me even now. But Maman joon, just like those days under the cascade of gol-e abrisham, the memory of you doesn't quite capture the charm of your spirit. You were magnificent. I hope your spirit has found it's way to your mother's garden and that just like when you were a child you are running through the flowers, laughing.
"What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed- Hafez"