When Alan and I started dating, I went to his brother and sister’s graduation party to meet everyone for the first time. Including his parents.
I met his Mom right away, she threw candy on me when she opened the door. Alan did not warn me this was custom. We all laughed hysterically at what ensued when it happened.
Imagine someone opening a door and yourself on the other end, all nervous to meet the family….and candy starts barreling through the air, at your head and face, this little woman throwing it with this estactic look on her face, then looking confused as to why you’re shocked…..then your boyfriend says “This is my Mom” and introduces us. Like the candy part didn’t just happen 😂.
THEN….he explains its tradition and means sweetness and good luck and love. It does break the ice wonderfully. We laughed hysterically at it all.

Then Alan excitedly leads me to 2 men. Both grinning, excited to meet me. He says “Jamie this is Bob, and my uncle Saul.” I happily shake both their hands. Telling Bob and Saul it’s nice to meet them.
I like them both a lot, especially Bob, he immediately made me feel happiness and comfort, he was joy. He called me Bahti.  After we walked away I asked Alan what Bahti meant..  he told me that meant “sweet girl, sweetheart”. What a nice man named Bob I thought. I knew I liked him and he seemed to get me immediately.
We walked around the party and I finally said “I’ve met everyone but I still haven’t met your Dad, where is your Dad?”
Alan laughed and said “You met him, that’s Bob.”

Confused I said “I thought your Dad’s name was Alex?”

THEN (yup, AFTER the fact again 😂)

Alan explained to me that Bab means Dad in Assyrian.
Here I had been walking around calling that Bob guy I really enjoyed… Dad. for about 2 hours.
And I never stopped after that day.
At first because it made us both laugh, and then because he felt like my Bab too.
He treated me like his own. From the moment I met him, I was his to love too, and he never stopped calling me Bahti. Which meant more to me than he probably ever knew.
For those who don’t know, we lost our Bab this last week.
I was asked, and honored to post on Facebook on behalf of the family.
And I wanted to share here on behalf of what he meant to me. I felt it so important to give each their own moment for what he was to them, before sharing what he was to me.
His was so special in my life. What was so special about him is he was everyone’s. Everyone’s favorite. Everyone’s friend. He made you feel you were his.
His funeral was yesterday. I thought I was out of tears. He’s at peace, he fought so hard, we’re happy for him.
I don’t know if it was because I had been trying to hold it together for Alan, and everyone else or what, but I headed north today to get the kids from my parent’s house, by myself for the first time since everything happened. I began to cry and couldn’t stop crying for the next several miles.
He was the joy in our get togethers. He was my calm and comfort that I was his, no matter where we went, who we were with, that I belonged. Just like his own children. He was my fellow jokester, he was the laughter. He was my most fun audience with my jokes. He got me. I always felt, he got me. He was special to me beyond what most knew, but most people close to me knew. They really knew how deeply I loved and appreciated who he was.
And as my Dad reminded me the day I found out and hid in a room crying so I didn’t upset Alan or the kids more…. Bab knew I loved him by the way I treated him and how I was with him.
One night years ago, Alan was at work, his Mom and Dad were staying at our house. Everyone was asleep but me. I was upstairs in our bedroom and something told me to walk downstairs. I didn’t know why, I didn’t need anything, I actually asked myself why and thought to myself no, don’t need to. But I also thought “Get up, go down” so I did.
As I was walking by the study which is where Bab liked to sleep, he was up, clutching his chest.
he was rocking back and forth.
I said “Bab are you ok? What’s wrong?”
He said “It’s heavy Bahti, it feels so heavy”

I told him we better take him into the hospital. He said he was really ok (he hated the hospital) I said Bab I don’t blame you for not wanting to go in, but I have to take you.
He said “I’ve lived a good life Bahti, I am ok with whatever happens, I don’t want to go to the hospital”.
I felt for him, I knew he was tired, I respected what he wanted and understood it. But I also knew I had to find a way to get him in. No one is as ready to lose him yet. No one ever is really.
I finally said “Bab, will you go in for me? I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t take you in.” He said “This isn’t on you Bahti, don’t you ever feel that way, I’ve lived a good life, I don’t want to go in”

I had to think quicker… “Bab, if you don’t let me take you in, Alan would never forgive me if something happened to you, you can’t put me in this position ok? Alan would divorce me” which made us both laugh. And he said “Ok for you Bahti”
That was Bab, always for someone else. Always. He loved people so good. So faithfully. So loyally. He would do anything for family.
As much pain as he was in he made some joke because he hated that I had to help him put on the socks he wanted on before he left.
I drove him to the ER down the road from our house, and sure enough they rushed him in. He was in the middle of a heart attack.
They asked me his name for paperwork, I said Alex. They said, but you keep calling him Bob so we were confused, I said “It means Dad in Assyrian”

The nurse said “Is he your Dad?” (For legal purposes, decision making)

I said he is my father in law, but I love him like my Dad.
Bab survived that night and so much, much, more.
We share the happy memories, the good stories. They’re comforting.
But so telling sometimes, and so comforting is the nitty gritty because I don’t know how else to convey what he meant to me. I don’t know how else to catch a release from the sadness I feel. He leaves a personal void for me. I feel deeply like he’s already working to make us all closer, because I am finding this deep sense of comfort that the way he made me feel with his presence, is now how I feel naturally around everyone.
Two people fall in love and I will make no qualms about the fact that it is an adjustment when you come from different cultures.
There is, it is not a bad thing, it’s just an adjustment. And whether it was how I felt some ways adjusting to being loved differently than I had my whole life, or Alan explaining to me AFTER how things were, I made adjustments. Bab always made it feel like I never had to. And he taught Alan the same so well, that he would forget I didn’t know what was going on. (See above examples 😂❤️)
Bab often said to Alivia “You’re perfect Bahti”.
and today in the car, when I couldn’t stop crying… Pink’s song “Perfect” came on and I immediately felt  it was from him to me.
I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe.
Right in the midst of feeling like I lost the one who got me the most, and where would I find that strength in the family when I would feel misunderstood…even if most times it was my own insecurity or the differences in how we all handle things..

“Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me.”

I loved that song before. Today I heard you singing it right to me Bab. You made me feel that way from the day we met right up until today. You haven’t gone anywhere, you’re here even stronger. And your Bahti felt it more than ever today. I loved you like my own, like you loved me. And I will always love you.
I always thought and will always think you are perfect too.


[Verse 1]
Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that’s alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss “no way it’s all good”
It didn’t slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing
Look, I’m still around

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

[Verse 2]
You’re so mean
When you talk
About yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you’ll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
It’s enough, I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I’ve seen you do the same, oh [Chorus]
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

The whole world’s scared, so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice-cold beer
So cool in line, and we try, try, try
But we try too hard, it’s a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, ’cause they’re everywhere
They don’t like my jeans, they don’t get my hair
Exchange ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
(Why do I do that?)

Yeah, oh, oh pretty, pretty please
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me
Yeah, you’re perfect, you’re perfect to me
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me