Ariana was laid to rest on a hill overlooking a canyon. A glimpse of the Pacific Ocean can be seen through the distant trees on a sunny day. Today was not sunny by any means. Cold gusts of wind and driving rain came down when we slowly followed the hearse to the grave site. As we got closer, I noticed the burial vault was prepared to receive the casket. I was so afraid to get out of the car when we finally stopped; not fearful of the rain and wind but rather the act of putting my little girl in the ground; the sheer madness that her light and vitality has been extinguished in an instant and replaced by steel gray skies, black clouds and pelting rain. Is this really happening?! I look over at my boss, my friend who insisted on being with us on this dreadful day, appears to be in a state of disbelief as well; not holding back tears but sharing in our grief and hugging my 17 year old son and oldest daughter. She selflessly came and supported my kids when my own mother, paralyzed with her own grief couldn’t come alone from Minnesota. I will be forever grateful of her presence and love.
I then notice my husband’s friend and business partner reaching for Farzin in the wind and unflinchingly trying to comfort him. This young man in his mid 30’s, very successful in the business/finance world, is a relatively new friend in our lives in the last several years along with his wife who is expecting their 3rd child. In spite of the holiday season, he too made it his business to be present and support our family during this event. Here is a man who is just starting a family with his wife; already has two young daughters and chooses to be by our sides on this horrific day. His incredible courage speaks to my heart.
Pastor Brian facilitated the small, intimate ceremony in one of Skylawn’s sanctuary’s prior to the burial. He is one of the lead pastors at Peninsula Covenant Church (PCC) in Redwood City. It was very easy to take notice of this man when my husband and I started attending PCC about 10 yrs ago. His delivery of God’s message in his own words has never failed to resonate in my heart.
The funeral manager, Linda had come to tell me that in spite of Ariana’s head injuries, they were able to restore her beauty in some small ways. For a week now, I have been desperately wanting to see her. To kiss her forehead; the forehead I use to stroke and smoothing her hair when she was in her bed and having trouble going to sleep. Thinking that she finally went to sleep, I would stop for a couple seconds and she would perk up, “Please keep going mommy”. I first turned to my son and then daughter and asked them if they would like to see their sister and say good-byes; they wanted it and we all agreed. I knew that a facet of Ariana would not be recognizable; I knew something was going to be altered and it will tear me apart. Linda gently warned my children but they seemed ready.
She had on the bright emerald green dress; it had tiny, loose flower petals sewn on the bodice. I found it amongst the piles and piles of clothes I had to go through just days before. One year ago at Christmas, we gave her a necklace with a cross. On the back of the cross was an inscription with the engraved picture of a guardian angel (painting by Marcus Jules: two children crossing a treacherous bridge). Ariana treasured it and wore it for many months. She believed in guardian angels as does her mother. It lay on her chest in the sea of green petals. I wept and prayed for her safe journey. I finally was able to kiss her as I imagined. I also held my dad’s bible he received from his foster parents in 1955. I chose to read the Psalm 23 today. I put the bible under Ariana’s hands; perhaps dad will receive her in heaven.