Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Celebration

Today I went to the celebration of the life of Soroosh Davani. Soroosh passed away on Christmas day and was the loving husband of one of my college friends, Rosemary. He courageously fought cancer and in his words: "I did not lose my battle with cancer. I won my battle with life by living my life to the fullest."

My first memory of Soroosh had nothing to do with him at all, actually. My freshman year of college I pledged a Christian sorority, Kappa Phi, and one of our first activities was a progressive dinner. One of our stops was Rosemary's apartment. She had this beautiful table scape (on the floor :)) with beautiful linens and dishes (not your typical paper plates) and had all this amazing food, specifically, tabouli and hummus. I grew up going to Jamil's Steakhouse in Tulsa, a steakhouse that also served classic Lebanese food, so I was in heaven with this stuff! Rosemary explained that she had learned the recipes from her boyfriend's mom. When I told my mom about all of this she said I needed to make friends with this girl to learn how to cook this amazing food!

My next memory, and the first of Soroosh himself, was at our Hayride a few weeks later. In walks this couple. The best word I can use to describe them was dashing! They were beautiful! They certainly did not look like they belonged in Norman, Oklahoma; maybe at some fashion show in New York or LA, but not anywhere that I was, for sure! They both had on long leather coats and at least one of them had a fancy hat on. They were just beautiful. I remember seeing them, with my eyes wide open, thinking that there was no way this fancy couple would ever be people I could be friends with; they were just way too sophisticated for this small town girl.

Well this would be an example where first impressions are not always correct. Rosemary and Soroosh were certainly as beautiful and sophisticated as they seemed, but as I got to know them I learned that they were also two of the nicest, most genuine loving people I have, to this day, ever met. It was so easy to see how much they loved each other, even as young as we were (though they never seemed as young as me because they just carried themselves with such maturity).

One of the most interesting things about them is their religion. As previously mentioned, Kappa Phi was a Christian sorority and Rosemary was devoutly Catholic. Soroosh was Muslim. When I have told people about them, in the last week two weeks and since I've known them, people always question how on earth this worked. Both were very strong in their faith, but they had such a respect for each other and each other's faith that it just worked. I know many, many couples that are of the exact same faith that couldn't get it together like Rosemary and Soroosh! They were truly perfectly matched soulmates that were lucky enough to find each other.

I lost track of them for several years in there and then found her on facebook a few years ago, after his diagnosis. I was shocked when I saw it. She sent me a message with the story and it just made me so sad. They married in 2006, after he finished law school and were living in Arizona. It just seemed so unfair. They were beautiful, both inside and out, and had their entire life ahead of them, and then were struck down with this horrible disease. It makes you really step back and think. It makes you think about your own life and mortality and what all we can do with our lives.

His celebration of life, the Norman version, was today. I really hoped to not cry, but I did. Heck, I cry at everything. I would like to think that these were tears of joy knowing that I was lucky to enough to have known this great man; and knowing that I am lucky enough to consider this beautiful, strong, amazing woman a friend and sister.

There were two passages that were said today that really stuck out to me. One was by a deacon from Rosemary's church. I don't have the exact passage, but I'll paraphrase.
A man was at the point in his life when he was to die. He began asking those around him who would go with him. His wife and children said they could not. His friends said they could not. The grain of the field that he worked could not. When he was buried and went to heaven all that went with him were his actions, who gladly made the trip.
Wow. That was really powerful to me. It reminded me of a quote by one of my favorite people, Grace Kelly:
I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others.
I pray that I can be that person. I know that watching Rosemary and Soroosh, when I was around them and watching their journey on facebook, certainly has made me a better person. Rosemary attributes her strength to lessons she learned from Soroosh, but I think, while that is true, she is also one of the strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of being around and that strength comes from inside her. She shows that strength to everyone that she encounters and will continue to share that strength for the rest of her life.

The second quote that was shared was by Robert Frost:
Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
Well isn't that certainly true? I pray that I can find a love and have a relationship that is half as happy and filled with love as the one that I was so privileged to witness in Rosemary and Soroosh.

If you are someone who prays please keep Rosemary and Soroosh's family in your prayers in the next few days, weeks and months. They are amazing people, but a few extra prayers for strength has never hurt anyone.

I leave you with a photograph of the happy couple from our college days, at some fun Kappa Phi dance. They are smiling and happy, which is how I will always remember them.

1 comment:

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