Sky of Red Poppies

For the last month, I’ve been reading Zohreh Ghahremani’s book Sky of Red Poppies, which is a book about two girls’ controversial friendship during the rule of the Shah, and into the Iranian revolution. I finally finished it on the plane ride back from Miami today, and as the plane descended, we got to the part of the book where Roya, the main character, learns that after she’s moved to the U.S., her brother got killed during one of the protests as an innocent bystander, and her family kept his death from her for months, if not years. No one mentioned his passing to her over the phone when she’d call; they’d insist that he was busy, not there, or “just didn’t want to talk on the phone.” She was filled with so much shock, despair, and outrage.. she didn’t even know how to mourn him properly. As soon as my eyes reached these pages, they overflowed with tears. I felt knots in my stomach. I don’t even know these people… they’re all fictional, just a story in my head. But it hurt so much to read this. Sibling death is too close to me, and to think that it would be kept a secret is just so devastating. I used to have nightmares of things like this happening, of my brother or my father dying, and my mom never telling me… or telling me months after the fact. These are the moments when I miss Ed and really wish he were alive and healthy.

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