Seventy-three years ago today, my mother was born. Twenty-two years ago today, she died. She had been battling with leukemia for 5 years and decided she was done fighting. She didn’t want to leave us, but when it was time for her to go, she left us all with a grace that I can only hope to emulate when it’s my time. She had a good life, traveling around the world, experiencing many different cultures and languages, finding a devoted life partner in Dad, and raising a family. She was 18 when she left Iran to study English In England – a bold move for a Persian girl in the 1960s. There she met Dad, they married and then moved to India, where the both studied yoga and enjoyed myriad adventures together, including the birth of their first child – me! Then they moved to Scotland, my Dad’s country and one Mum soon came to love deeply. There, she gave birth Roshan and then Alan, and then for most of the rest of her life, in Scotland, then Canada and finally England, she devoted herself to looking after her family, which she did with strength, love and grace – and no end of delicious food.
My husband David loves movies. Whenever he has a chance he catches a movie at the theater or watches one at home, the latter usually, but not always, with Theo and me. He shares this love of film with his father, Steve, and whenever we get together with Steve, a part of their conversation is always devoted to the latest films they have seen. I am rarely a part of that conversation, mostly because I see so few films, but more likely because they were both born and raised in Los Angeles, so a love of film is part of their cultural heritage. Watching films and talking about films is a something dear to both of them and is a strong bond between them, one that will likely continue to the next generation as Theo, also born and raised in Los Angeles, grows a love of movies too.
Today we met up with Steve for lunch. We hadn’t seen him for a couple of months because he had also been under the weather. He’d been battling with pneumonia but has thankfully recovered. In his mid eighties now, Steve is one of the most active and engaged people I know, keeping himself busy with exercise, classes as his local community college, following politics, reading, the theater, and of course, movies. He’s also a very loving grandpa to Theo and a sweet, caring father-in-law to me, always sending me Happy Mother’s Day cards, birthday cards, and taking me out every year for my birthday for a special lunch that has become our own little annual tradition. Since we first met, Steve has been welcoming, thoughtful and generous to me, and over the years, we have truly come to consider each other family, a precious gift to me as I rarely see my own father, who I love dearly but who lives thousands of miles away in England. Today, David and I gave Steve three DVDs that we had recently enjoyed watching as a family – the classic The Great Escape, the heart-warming New Zealand film The Whale Rider, and the Jim Carrey film The Majestic. The last film in particular was one that I thought he’d enjoy, as it’s a tenderly made film about Hollywood, movies, memory, politics, love and loss. Most importantly, I realized today, it’s about finding oneself, one’s purpose and one’s family sometimes very far away from one’s starting point, something I can relate to and which he has helped me to do here.