Emad’s anniversary

This is the 3rd anniversary of Emad’s passing. We wrote the note below after he left us. If we were to rewrite it today, we’d have to add that the three years after Emad were filled with hope and enthusiasm, thanks to the kindness of kids and moms in Emad House, the lovely presence of our volunteers, and your unsparing support and trust. May we appreciate and be thankful for these blessings.

“A little over a year ago Emad entered this world. He quickly took us with him to places and showed us things we never imagined. We experienced with him a kind of joy, passion, excitement, and love that didn’t fit in our imagination. Because of Emad, we got to know amazing people whom we might have never gotten to know, and even if we got to know them, it wouldn’t have been the same way we do now. With a fragile body, during agonizing times, but with lips that used every excuse to smile, and eyes that would speak of the ‘unspeakable words.’

Emad is no longer with us. On Saturday morning, he became restless and the doctors lost hope of his improvement. They helped Zeinab to hold him. He calmed down. For a moment he looked as his balloons and his eyes turned to their usual enthusiastic look. He remained in Zeinab’s arms, for an hour, until his breathing got slower and slower, calm, quiet, and astonishingly beautiful. And then he became the infinite beauty.

Emad had Down syndrome and a rare heart disease. During this one year and a few days, he spent 7.5 months in hospitals. A little over two months at the end of the spring and summer, and two more months during the fall we had the chance to show him the taste of fresh air, the colors of leaves on the trees, the warmth of the sun, and our dearest friends. And how wonderful that we got to explore, travel, see, and be to the fullest during these few months. We feel sorry that we were not able to show him more of the beauties of our world. Emad, however, generously gifted us from the light, taste, and scent of the purity that he had brought with him -from a place that we don’t know.

Be it during the days when Emad was in hospital, or now that he is no longer among us, many have wished patience for us. We are thankful. But be aware that Emad was not that difficult test of patience and endurance in face of the unwanted. Perhaps those who have seen Emad in person can understand this better. His sweetness would chase away any bad feelings, hopelessness, or fatigue from us. Being with Emad was different, but it didn’t require self-sacrifice or strength. Emad, in his entirety, and with all his qualities, was the most desirable being we had ever seen. We are saddened by his loss, but we are utterly grateful for every day he was with us.

We have strange feelings these days, different from what we imagined, and what you might think. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with grief or helplessness. It’s more like the feeling you get after returning from a trip you infinitely enjoyed, with people and places you extremely loved. And now you have returned. You don’t have the desire to think about the regularities. Remembering memories, just like looking at the photos and videos of a spectacular trip, does not bring us to tears. Quite contrary, it resurrects the good feelings of our past moments. We’d love to travel to all the places we went with Emad once again, to see all the people we saw with him, and to eat and walk again in all the cafes and restaurants and parks we went with him. I imagine when I look at Emad’s photos 10 years from now, I would still smile. Those were the best days of our lives and we are forever thankful to have experienced them. Whenever we might be depressed by the darkness of the times, or the indolent soul, or the fruitlessness of life, we can look back at these days and console ourselves that this life, with all its shortcomings and disappointments, had these magical days at the very least.

We are infinitely thankful to all of you who thought of us during these days. Each and every call, message, prayer, direct or indirect checking in, visit, and being with us was more support and consolidation for us than you can imagine. Please continue your amazing and kind presence and backing, for anyone around you. It’s much appreciated, even when words can’t thank you enough.

I’ve lost my heart
It was trusted to me
I must find it,
and hold it tight,
in the name of life,
for those who are alive.
And now,
in the green and bright calm
amidst the meadows by your grave,
I greet you once more,
I celebrate a new year, a new spring, a new life.
And your kind voice,
I can hear from far away
and the song of the angels,
who are your new friends.
I entrust you to God
(Poem by Haleh Sahabi)

Emad Arman Shamekhi
April 25, 2016 – April 29, 2017

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