I initially felt ambivalent about writing a post on my grandmother's death. Since she was a sociable person who loved public appearances, I figured she would have liked this. She was a constant presence in my life. I saw her for at least a month each year since I was born. There were periods in which she lived with us for several months at a time. We were close.
Among my earliest memories is of her teaching me how to play tic-tac-toe. She taught me Rummy soon after. She was a great teacher. She taught public speaking. She founded a Persian language school in Nice, educating a generation of their heritage.
To many, she was not only a teacher, but also a mentor. She advised many Iranian women, helping them through their struggles. It was an utmost honor to hear from them personally how she had changed their lives. She was a great learner, too. When I learned that she was taking poetry classes at ninety years old, I felt a deep sense of pride--a resounding one.
Her passion for learning was reflected in her open-mindedness. She was progressive, accepting of new ideas. She studied in the US and went on to assume leadership roles that were rare for women in Iran back then. A recent article described her very aptly as a "modern" woman. She embodied a different Iran, an Iran that many Iranians long for.
Her passion for learning stemmed from her passion for life. She was energetic, vivacious. Her passing was sudden and tragic, but a slow deterioration was unfathomable for such a spirited person. It was the only way she could go.
Of all of Parvin's qualities (yes, as strange as it may be, I called her by her actual name), her love for those close to her was most prominent. Her love was genuine, heartfelt--unconditional. It was a rare love, one that possessed a warmth that made you smile. It's a love that comforts me still, one that I will never forget.
It is hard to imagine a world without Parvin. It is hard to change present tense to past when writing about her. I take solace in the lessons she has left behind. She set an example for all who knew her of a full life, a purposeful life, a life of love and ambition. A happy life.