Death isn’t an excepted conversation starter. In fact, even after experiencing a loss, it wasn’t easy to talk about it or – even worse – to show the feelings it causes. At least in my experience. We got condolences and sympathy right after the death of my father, basically until the funeral was over. Just when the real grieving process can begin, everybody expects you to move on, to be strong and to have your emotions under control because they are making others feel uncomfortable or helpless. So best not to talk about it or the person …

I am sure this method works for some but it didn’t for me. Two months later I read

„Iraner gehen mit Trauer anders um als Deutsche. Alle weinen mit dir, alle umarmen dich, keiner versucht den Schmerz zu verdrängen.“

„Rosenjahre“ by Jasmin Tabatabai

My translation: „Iranians handle grief differently than Germans. Everybody cries with you, everybody hugs you, nobody tries to suppress the pain.“ Turns out I wasn’t a very good German in the way I wanted to grief (The picture that made it into the final).

Of course, it is not the idea to just blindly give in to pain and despair, and luckily I did learn from others and their loss how important and powerful it is to focus on the time spent together, to be grateful for all that was rather than what still could have been. It wasn’t easy for me to accept that what I had planned to do this summer wouldn’t be possible anymore (Looking back in gratitude: Happy new year).

Today I want to remember, not my loss, but the person I continue to love.

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