A Tribute to My Dad

In August 2014 and just a few weeks before his 71st birthday, my Dad sadly passed away and I rushed back home to take care of my Mum for while after sharing the sad news with my colleagues and saying goodbye to them. When I came back to work after about a month, I felt I needed to write about my late Dad; it was indeed the least I could do  to introduce this great man to those around the world who didn’t already know him and also to explain to my colleagues why I had been away for about a month. It was not that easy, but eventually I wrote this text on 21st September 2014 in the social network of our company for my colleagues around the world. Here I republish my post as well as the comments of my wonderful ex-colleagues…

Mr Better Better!!!

Hello everyone,

Following my last status update (“Today, the saddest day of my life, my beloved dad passed away after being more than 2 months in…”) and my about a month absence I received many kind messages of sympathy and condolences from you all which truly humbled me and I felt blessed by your kindness upon my return. It was my intention to write to all in return but so far I couldn’t get round to it. So, here’s my text now.

Better, better… So much better!!!

This is a literal translation of what my beloved late dad used to sing in Persian especially in difficult times. Whatever happened, even the most horrible things in our life, my dad used to sing it and advise us to try to see the difficulties as opportunities… So, we used to call him Mr Better Better! He was the first person who woke up early in the morning everyday, prepared breakfast for my mum and me, brewed tea and then woke us up by whistling and singing… A very sincere and warm person who could easily befriend with everyone and impress them with his wisdom, a vegetarian who didn’t smoke, drank very rarely, nothing could ever make him upset, an intellectual who always found the simplest solutions for all problems and a lovely dad and husband full of life and optimism who was truly enjoying his life with his best friend and colleague, my mum. An avant-garde architect, researcher, author, poet and Iranologist who spent the majority of his life on his books and researches, an encyclopaedia of arts and architecture as well as his great Iranology researches, his poems, translating Edgar Allan Poe’s poems to Persian poems together with my mum and so many other great works… It was my dad who taught me mathematics, chess, backgammon (a board game invented by Iranians thousands of years ago to represent the Persian philosophy of life) and the philosophy behind them…

Once a young plumber who went to my parents house a couple of years ago to fix the pipes, found my dad very alive, warm and sincere. He explained how he was wondering when he went to the most of elder people, he found them moody and grumpy, but my dad who was almost 70 year old was so funny and friendly. “You never know! Maybe 30 years later when I also become old, I’ll become moody and grumpy too!” my dad replied.

About four months ago, he suddenly and shockingly had a stroke due to his weak heart and had gone in coma for about three months! That day like always my dad was whistling while working on his encyclopaedia, complementing my mum as her cooked lunch was the tastiest in the whole world for him, brewing perfect afternoon tea for my mum after their siesta, … and at night the unbelievable disaster happened…

 «چنان با نیک و بد سر کن که بعد از مردنت عرفی، مسلمانت به زمزم شوید و هندو بسوزاند»

This is a 16th-century Persian poem my dad used to quote which represents Persian attitude toward the importance of diversity and tolerance in the world. It says treat people with different attitudes in a way that after your departure from this world each group of people believe you were one of them and mourn for you in their own way. Indeed my dad so treated everyone in such way that upon his coma all our friends prayed for him in their own ways… Zoroastrians, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jewish people, atheists, etc all prayed for him from the very bottom of their hearts and eventually his departure saddened them all equally as my dad was always one of them.

During the horrible three months when my dad was in coma in hospital, my mum was inspiringly strong and rational, and whenever I wanted to go back to Tehran, she asked me to wait and keep my energy for when it would be really needed for the family. She indeed spent all her energy and love for my dad during the three months and eventually when my dad’s inner bird of wisdom decided to escape from the cage of his body about a month ago and just a few weeks before his 71st birthday, no energy was left for my mum. She was extremely weak and sensitive. Yet, there were two more things my mum did. Once my dad had a dream of being with his dad, my grandpa, once again and my mum made his dream came true. She found the grave of my late grandpa and buried my dad there. So now a great father and his son are resting in peace together in the same place. My mum also promised my dad in one of her dreams to complete and publish the unpublished books and encyclopaedia of my dad… It was now my turn to look after her. This was when I said good bye to all Jacobs fellas by the above status update and immediately flew to Tehran, Iran for about a month. It was not at all to take my time and deal with my own emotions. I had to take care of my weakened mum and cheer her up. Also, upon my dad’s wish, we didn’t have any type of ceremonies for his departure and the money will be spent on cultural activities instead (In Iran traditionally there are ceremonies on the day of departure, on the 7th night after departure, on the 40th night after departure and then annually.) While I’m yet so sad about my huge loss and the fact I couldn’t do anything for my dad, at least I tried to make my mum feel better and I was successful. My mum and I are also trying to make my dad’s wishes come true…

Yet I fail to see what could be “better, better, so much better” in his departure apart from the fact he is not suffering anymore.

Finally, I’d like to thank you all for your lovely messages of sympathy and apologise for not being able to reply back to every individual of you. Thank you so much Angelita Litonjua, Chris Carey, Paul Harper, Cora Carmody, Farid El Mouhsine, Sarah Daniels,Frank North, Sue Pei Lim, Alberto Venni, Martyn Williams, Matt Waddicor, Phil Butler, Khalid Khan, Tyrus Deal, Mazen Osman, Hector Martinez, John Fay, Michele Barzyk, Robert “Matt” DiPalma, Denise Hofmann, Deidre Bolemon, Adolfo Lopez, Carolina Peralta Cigarroa, Alejandro Carranza, Chelse Hoskins, Dave Hill, Rodrick English, Janis Bartlett, Shamim Huq, Heath Lutz, Gopal Pirathapan, Aaron Smith, Mayoorun Parasuraman, Ganna Kudrey, Koula Valsamis, Rekha Babumon, Nagaratnam Pirabagaran, Chris Seaman and James Nash.

I’d like to also thank Arash Ghaneh, Ramin Mellatshahi, Mohammad Tajvidi, Farzin Farajzadeh, Behrouz Khodaverdian, Neyson Foghani, Amir Assadizadeh, Parizad Nobakht, Houman Farhadi, Faramarz Noorfardi, Mehri Rezaeian, Arash Noshadravan, Kaveh Komaee, Minoo Ghorishi, TC Sedat Tekgul Sid, Bita Milanloo, Alireza Monfared, Bahar Köse, Azadeh Monfared, Bahare Talakoob, Marina Milani, Nima Aghili, Farshid Zarei, Afshin Fathi, Ali Farnoud, Negar Sadeghpour, Hossein Tahami, Leila Rezaeian, Kaveh Espandar, Alireza Farsad, Naghmeh Tafazzoli, Sahel Tangestani, Saman Tafazzoli, Mandana Cont, Fariborz Nourfardi, Kiana Makki, Ali Aliabadi, Elaheh Kompany, Nima Rashidi, Maliheh Kheirkhah, Bita Mojdehifar, Arash Azimzadeh, Bahram Mosleh, Yalda Amoozadeh, Kourosh Keshvarian, Behzad Tolaminejad, Amir Pasha Peyvandi, Mally Mehryar, Maryam Shariati, Saman Zargarbashi, Aban Dokht Mehryar, Maryam Sadjadpour, Ardavan Motahari, Mohsen Sharifi, Reza Zolfkhani, Sasan Salehi, Babak Pourazaram, Arash Soheyli, Omid Lashgari, Majid Ghavami, Parvaneh Alikhani, Shiva Bahrami, Rozita Naghshin, Arash Nayeri, Niloo Foghani, Farhad Irani, Amir Soltani, Mana Komai, Soorena Fatehchehr, Ahura Qavami Tehrani, Shayesteh Ghorbani, Nima Ala, Babak Kamrani, Laleh Espandar, Amin Kaboudvand, Mohammad Farno, Mahdi Kavousi, Amir Nasr, Leila Milanloo, Parvin Rahbar, Zahra Pillay, Mehrali Kafi, Hamid Rezaeian, Mohsen Mirdamadai, Mehry Mallah, Gholamreza Masumi, Kaykavous Ahmadi Behazin, Sara Mirsiab, Hossein Sadr, Nader Ahgharian, Mojgan Ghafari Shirvan, Majid Fathi, Arghavan Louhghalam, Sima Madadi, Ali Mousavi, Behrang Asfia, Ann Goddard, Ali Abdolbaghi, Ali Boroumand, Nima Tafazzoli, Farzaneh Omidvarnia, Elham Monfared, Yasmin Rezaeian, Maryam Naghynejadfard, Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni, Azam Rahbari Komaee, Somayeh Amirbeigee, Ali Mardomi, Masoud Zohari, Mina Matin, Negar Mehryar, Amir Sadjadpour, Liz Giddings, Aram Soroushian, Iman Karimi, Mark Richard Engel, Jodie Moule, Darryl Butcher, Reshma Assyria Rajan, Jerry Engelhersht, Marco Bruno, David How, Shima Shomali, Mohammadreza Dezfulian, Bahar Barati, Nima Naghshin, Elaheh Abrishami, Azadeh Abdolbaghi, Mahtab Rezvani, Ali Abdolbaghi, Mohammad Tafazzoli, Lora Vishnevskaya, Amir Abdolbaghi, Asghar Abdolbaghi, Mohammadreza Rezaeian, Matin Rezaeian, Negar Komaee, Razieh Jafari, Mahdi Madadi, Pooneh Nabizadeh, Raha Komai, Parastoo Heydarian.


Deidre Bolemon (20-Sep-2014 20:14):
Sohail ….
Wow. Oh Wow. What a touching tribute to your father. “Better, Better. So Much Better.” What an awesome outlook on life.
Your writing kept me on the edge of my seat, as I did not want to miss one word. Thank you for sharing such personal details. l feel as if I traveled half way around the world and learned a few things during the trip.
Very glad you are back. We did indeed miss you!

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 11:01):
Thanks Deidre. Your note made me feel I accomplished my text well. Because you know, I’ve myself dedicated my personal life to travelling around the world and learning about different people. So, when I write myself, I try to explain details of social lives, mentalities, etc of people too. I was worried if my text became boring and dull. Thank you very much for your words. For sure I missed you and the rest of the fellas here too.

Angelita Litonjua (21-Sep-2014 13:09):
No, it was not long and it was not boring, Sohail. You are very fortunate to have a dad like Saeed, Mr. Better Better!

Cora Carmody (20-Sep-2014 22:21):
What a beautiful note, Sohail! We should all be so lucky as your father who has given the world and Jacobs your good spirit and wonderful words. WELCOME BACK!!!

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 11:03):
Cora, I can only explain my state right now after reading your comment with two words: “blush blush“. Your kindness is beyond imagination.

Paul Harper (20-Sep-2014 23:38):
You father sounds such a wonderful man. A very touching tribute. We were sad to see that you had to leave and glad that you could help your mother when she needed you. Welcome back Sohail.

Phil Butler (20-Sep-2014 23:51):
Sohail, as has been said before a very touching tribute, your father had a fantastic outlook on life and thank you so very much for sharing these stories.
Welcome back.

Sue Pei Lim (21-Sep-2014 01:31):
Very inspirational, lovely, and touching. Thank you so much for sharing about your late father. Welcome back, Sohail.

Martyn Williams (21-Sep-2014 06:02):
A heartwarming eulogy.

Angelita Litonjua (21-Sep-2014 06:16):
Sohail, as promised, you wrote. Thanks for keeping your promise, my friend! It is a lovely and inspiring note to all your friends! Welcome back! I’m truly glad that you and your mum are doing better. Mr. Better can’t wish for anything more for both you and your mum! As I said earlier, your dad is very handsome. He was a perfect man in so many ways! Again, here is a big hug on your return!

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 11:11):
You’re so kind my friend Angelita. Well yes, he was handsome and if you ask my mum she will tell you he was the most handsome man in the world who despite all the difficulties in our life, if she was reborn 1000 times more, she would again and again marry him every time in her new life. Even during his coma in the hospital, my dad always had his hairdresser in the hospital to shave him clean and do his hair.

Angelita Litonjua (21-Sep-2014 13:12):
I like very much his older picture. It seems to say all about who he really was, a very good man and blessed at that!

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 13:36):
You just reminded me another story. My dad was making poems and signing them about everything! Once he decided not to have moustache anymore, he shaved clean his moustache while signing (literal translation to English again): “The era of moustache is over! The era of moustache is over!!” LOL

Tanaya Shukre (21-Sep-2014 08:14):
After reading about your dad, I really wish I could’ve met him just once…what an honour it would have been to listen to him. What is your dad’s name?

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 10:52):
Thank you Tanaya. My late dad’s name is “Saeed” which means “Blessed”. Very proper name as he had a very blessed life. Actually if you even had a phone conversation with him, he would talk to you like he knew you for a long time. It was his character.

Angelita Litonjua (21-Sep-2014 13:07):
It would have been a joy talking with him since he surely makes you comfortable.

Alberto Venni (21-Sep-2014 09:02):
Your beautiful words made me stirred Sohail Forouzan-Sepehr. Welcome back.

Sohail Forouzan-sepehr (21-Sep-2014 11:11):
Thank you so very much again every one. Your kindness is unlimited and beyond imagination.

Jean Early (21-Sep-2014 11:46):
So sorry to hear your father passed away may he RIP. Sounds like he was a wonderful person and left a great legacy behind. He looks like a movie star in the photos you posted! Keep up the great writings and hopefully for you and your Mother life will continue to get better better.

Chris Carey (21-Sep-2014 14:08):
Thank you for sharing Sohail!

Tanaya Shukre (21-Sep-2014 20:51):
“Turn Again To Life
If I should die and leave you here a while,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake – turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete those unfinished tasks of mine
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.”
– Mary Lee Hall

Brenda Gibbons (22-Sep-2014 03:35):
Sincere Condolences! Inspirational tribute for your dad. Thank you for sharing.

Angelita Litonjua (22-Sep-2014 05:09):
Brenda, nice to see you in JacobsConnect! Enjoy connecting! Sohail indeed wrote an inspirational tribute to his dad.

Michele Barzyk (22-Sep-2014 04:06):
I also wish I could have met your father. Yet somehow, by your sharing, I feel I know him. Thank you.

Denise Hofmann (22-Sep-2014 07:02):
Such a beautiful, loving & heartfelt tribute to your father Sohail Forouzan-Sepehr Thank you for sharing it with us. I’m quite sure your dad would be very proud of you and I know you will continue to support and help your mom as much as you possibly can and in sharing the memory you are helping to keep his memory alive not just for yourself but I think many of us just now reading this wish that we could have even for a short time met this amazing man.

Carolina Peralta Cigarroa (22-Sep-2014 07:13):
Welcome back Sohail.
Thank you so much for your great message and for sharing your experiences with your parents. Your father should be busy guiding us, especially men, in knowing how important they are for their kids throughout life. I don´t think many of them know about this incredible truth.
I wish when I go, the people I know will remember me for the right reasons like your dad.

Adolfo Lopez (22-Sep-2014 07:34):
I’m going to visit my dad next November. He is 90.
His breathing is soft like my grandson´s. At times he´s startled by some dream unknown to me. He walks slower than last year, and faster than next. The torrent of memories he pours on the page tell of a life lived wide and deep. His hair finally caught up and is absolutely white. He looks as an old lion begging to rest already, his cubs grown up and battling their own battles, training their own cubs.
And even though he will be with me at the poetry reading on Tuesday, I realize he´s been with me all along, before my birth. And will continue to be there after my death. For a lot of what I am today, physically and spiritually, is my father´s.

Jean Early (22-Sep-2014 10:36):
Adolfo Lopez,
Beautifully written

Alejandro Carranza (22-Sep-2014 15:24):
Sohail Forouzan-sepehr, what a nice memory and tribute for your dad!
Sure that your thoughts, feelings and actions shall receive blessed rewards in this world too!

Dr Forouzan-sepehr Passed Away.

گفت کسی خواجه سنایی بمرد        مرگ چنين خواجه نه کاريست خرد

گنج زری بود در اين خاکدان          کو دو جهان را به جوی میشمرد


Dr Mohsen Forouzan-sepehrDr Mohsen Forouzan-sepehr, the grand member of Forouzan-sepehr Family and my beloved uncle, passed away while I was in Budapest. L He achieved his PhD in Urban Sociology from the University of Strasbourg, France and was a knowledgeable treasure in sociology, politics, history and several other fields. He was the director of the Ministry of Finance and a member of Iranian Intellectuals Organisation with several awards and medals as well as a university lecturer in Iran before the revolution of 1979. Not only as my uncle but also as a very sincere and cool friend of mine, I can still remember our long interesting discussions in history and its philosophy, the effects of social restrictions on historical events, his poems, his worries as well as his priceless memorabilia especially in Tehrani accent and also his amazing Tehrani traditional dances. I can remember his neutral wise criticisms about political issues and it was really interesting and admirable how he was able to criticise the events completely neutrally and scientifically. When his beloved son, my cousin, was shot to death during the revolution, he just forgave his killer as he believed nemesis can’t give him back his son.

We all missed such a great man, a great treasure. L It’s really a shame we couldn’t gather his knowledge either by voice recording or notes. In his absence and his memory, however, I’ll keep supporting young talented Iranian scientists, artists, … as much as I can afford, and then after me, hopefully, his grandsons will do it under some Forouzan-sepehr’s NGO scholarship schemes. May he rest in peace in God’s heaven.

Kind regards,

Sohail 😪