My Brother

Mehdi Maghsoodnia
5 min readMar 14, 2017

A year ago today, Maziar died at 12:00 noon. He was killed in a car accident. We talked half an hour before the accident and I remember telling him that I love him. I did not realize that was my last conversation with him. An hour later my sister, Maryam called me crying. “Maziar is dead, he was killed in a car accident”.

I didn’t know how to process that, I couldn’t believe she said dead. I was sure he is injured. It was my son’s birthday party that day, I stopped, I looked around, not sure what to do next. I started crying and I collapsed on the sofa.

An hour later, we were driving to the hospital. My sister in law, her father and my nephew were in the hospital. I search for Maziar but he was not there. I couldn’t feel anything. I told myself, he is somewhere else, I have to find him. People were telling me that my nephew Nader is fine and they are taking him to a friend’s house. That, my sister in law has a head injury and is under observation and Mr. Behnam, who is in his 80’s, is in critical condition. (He would pass away a few days later).

I still couldn’t feel anything. My body fell into auto pilot, solving problems, making decisions and moving forward. I needed to find my brother. I asked the hospital where he was, they tell me his body is at the morgue. I knew what that meant but I refused to process it. The police officer stopped me and started to talk to me about the accident. He tells me that my brother was standing by his car when the other driver hit him. He looks at me, like he expects me to say something. I don’t feel anything. I can’t feel anything. They are making a mistake. I need to see him.

The next day, I find myself at the cemetery. They tell me that I have to choose a grave and a burial site before they release his body. So I am at a cemetery looking at graves. I am surrounded by friends, good friends who are there to support me. I walk across the cemetery, the sales person is talking to us about the locations, their benefits, their cost. I remember telling him, “We need a place that is close to the kids so they can visit their dad. We need a flat ground and close to the road so my parents can get out of the car and see him without having to climb and walk too far. Maziar loved Berkeley and the view is important.” Why am I talking about him in the past tense. Where is my brother?

The sales person talks to me about caskets, he is describing the different types, shapes, sizes. I have not seen my bother, I want to find him. I am still going through this process to have the police release his body. I have to stop myself and pay attention. The sales person is trying to sell me a fancy casket with metal bars, cement frame and so on.

Maziar was spiritual, authentic and full of love. He did not enjoy pompous ceremonies and expressions of grandeur. I tell the sales person, I want something simple, no cement, no metal. It has to be natural, made of wood. Maziar would want to be close to mother nature and not separated from it. The sales person looks at me and shows me the simple wooden casket. I still don’t feel like he is gone. I still have not seen my brother.

They won’t release his body so I ask to see the car. The officer says, it is evidence and can’t be seen. We argue, he agrees to let us see it but only for a few minutes. I see the car and I am beyond happy that my nephew is okay. I feel blessed.

We are surrounded by loving friends. They bring food, take the kids home, take care of my parents and Lida. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful friends. We are blessed.

Day 5, I still have not seen Maziar. I can’t help but feel guilty, my brother is still out there alone, we are surrounded by love and he is alone. I need to bring him home. He needs to feel the love. He needs to be here.

Day 6, they bring him and we all go to see him. He looks peaceful, He was smiling. Maziar is smiling.

Day 7, it is a Monday, we are going to have a ceremony for him. So many things to do, our friends are everywhere helping, We are so blessed to have so many good people around us. 700 people show up. Family members from all corners of the world. Friends from 50 years of life. I always loved my brother and knew how loving he was but I realized that day that Maz was no ordinary person. He had shown his love and kindness and made so many people feel accepted and loved.

March: 2017 — Day 365, life does not stop, it seems to go faster and faster. I wrote this a year ago and I still miss you every day. We celebrated your “Sal” yesterday. I honestly did not want to do it but now I am happy we did. Mom and Dad were right, there is always a wisdom to these old traditions. Everyone is doing good. There are hard days, no denying it and we all miss you so much but we are working hard to be there for each other. I am still learning so much from you day by day. I can’t promise that I can do much better but I am trying. It is hard to fill your shoes, your love and smile is everywhere and you would be proud of the kids. They are so much like you, full of love and life. The guys are putting another tournament together. It will be fun. Make sure you are there. Love you man.

March 2018 — Everyone is doing well. I have a lot to say and will see you tomorrow.

….Maziar loved Persian poetry. We are creating a permanent program to support and promote Persian poetry at UC Berkeley, you can contribute here.

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