On the day we heard about the fire that took our beloved Jasmine, our very first thought was a single name: Nazie. In the last year of her life, Jasmine had poured her soul into her mother. She loved Nazie with an intensity that inspired us, and a devotion that took our breath away.
So on that tragic day in April, we thought of Jasmine and asked ourselves: What would she expect from us? What was she telling us to do? To us, the answer seemed simple: Jasmine wanted us to take care of her mother. So on that day in April, we made a commitment to the Jahanshahi family in honor of our beautiful friend Jasmine and the people who brought her into this world and made her who she was.
What we didn’t realize is that Nazie would give us much more than we could ever give to her. Nazie is the reason we kept our sanity through the loss of one of our closest friends. Nazie’s lessons will follow us for as long as we live. So on this somber occasion, we want to share three life lessons that Nazie bestowed upon us:
The first is to make things about other people. Nazie lost her daughter, her best friend, in a terrible accident. Any ordinary person would be well within their right to grieve intensely and turn inward on their own suffering. Not Nazie. Nazie immediately thought of the students and immigrants who were also suffering as a result of the tragic fire in Paris. She immediately anticipated the grief and suffering of other parents, families, and friends who might lose a loved one if buildings around the world continued to lack fire safety regulations. The day after losing her daughter, Nazie went into action and created our Foundation to ensure that losing Jasmine wouldn't be in vain. She made her tragedy about preventing future tragedies. She taught us to channel our grief and motivate ourselves to reverse the conditions that brought this pain into our lives. Nazie showed us how to turn our despair into action.
The second lesson she taught us is to use every moment to make a difference. Despite her illness, despite her grief, Nazie worked nonstop. She ran her business, her household, and a growing foundation while inspiring every person that worked and lived around her. Nazie knew that her time on this earth was limited and she didn’t waste a second. She believed that every moment was a precious opportunity to do something valuable and she led our team with the skill, precision, and heart we needed to make it through and create something meaningful and lasting.
The third and most valuable lesson that Nazie taught us was to do everything with love. Nazie showed us how love could overcome the deepest emotional and physical pain, enabling us to trust in love as a powerful force in the universe. Even after losing her daughter and suffering through cancer, Nazie was our caretaker. She held us up, made us laugh, and inspired us to keep going when things looked impossibly bleak. Being around her was inspiring. She made us all want to be passionate, kinder, gentler, more generous people.
Nazie, we will carry your legacy with us just like we promised we would. We will continue your amazing work and make the world a safer place in honor of you and Jasmine. We will turn the tragedies of our lives into things of beauty. But most of all, we will feel your spirit of deep compassion and hold the memory of your graceful kindness in us forever. In an effort to be a part of your life, you have changed ours. Thank you for teaching us that the meaning of life is to love and that the meaning of loss is to love even more. Dooset Daram, our second mother.