|Princess Azadeh (Dodi) at left with Empress Farah|
Sitting at the blustery, winter cold beach, here in my car, choking back tears as i write, I am amazed at how much I cared for her and for Shahriar (Poudzi). The pain of his assassination back in 1979, not long after the Khomeini revolution eradicated honor, dignity and safety from Iran has dimmed, partly because at the time I placed it in my mind as "a casualty of war", which was what a military officer like him would expect in the conflict he (and later Dodi) would wage to try to free their country.
Another solace was to see the children of her brother Prince Shahram (Daddi), whom I also knew well but less closely than Shariar.
Amir, the elder son's carriage and how he held his head reminded me of his father but when I mentioned it he asked "when was the last time you saw my father" and smiled when I replied "not since Iran" (over 30-years ago), silently indicating that his dad looked very different now than he did when I remembered him.
Younger brother Sirus, very personable and affable, with a sense of humor, also helps complete the basis for a successful continuation of the progeny of Her Imperial Highness Princess Ashraf, the late-Shah's twin sister.
I wish Poudzi's children had been there but I was told they were expecting new borns and were unable to get away from Atlanta in time. So the family continues on all round.
Another "child" (now a mature woman) I was happy to see there was General Nader Jahanbani's daughter, who read the bilingual eulogy. Her Air Force General father was among the first to be executed and insisted on dying wearing his uniform. His last request from one of his executioners, who had worked for him in the air force, was to "aim for the heart" when the firing squad took his life. That uniform was reportedly returned to his wife and now has a place of honor, though with bullet holes, a very painful reminder, in her home in California.
Poudzi's widow, Mariam Eghbal, daughter of former National Iranian Oil Chief, also presented her eulogy for her sister-in-law.
There were other long time friends there but this is not a social column, so I bid them well without listing them all.
Attending the service and chatting with Dodi's relatives reminded me how many first hand, "insider" stories I have to share with them and other royals but have nobody around me to whom to talk to about these.
A remembrance card handed out to everyone there had the following text printed inside next to her photo:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the ripening fields of grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beatiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in the quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft,
I am not there, I have not left.
Rest in peace Dodi, though if I knew you well, you will be flitting around in our lives, unseen but always felt.