Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sandra Rattray-Hahn

Anwar, Chris, and I were playing Axis and Allies in his living room. We had done it several times. Axis and Allies is a WWII themed strategy game. We never actually finished playing. The complexity of the game made it difficult to win. The game was a war of attrition and no one ever really won.

We enjoyed ourselves anyway. The room was a mental storm. The three of us fought hard, pushing our lines against each other. It was a quiet day in very early spring. It was still brisk out, the sun seemed to set too soon still, and patches of snow decorated the sidewalks.

We lost track of time. It was dark, and suddenly there was a terrible rumbling in our stomachs. The door clicked open, creaked, and gently closed with a double-latch. I heard bags rustling, the sound of boots being taken off. Anwar’s mom was home. She had a shock of white hair. A graceful woman, powerful, and beautiful. She snuck into the kitchen while we played out a battle in the Pacific. I heard the paper bags rustling. And then a gentle scent reached my nose.

I looked up and noticed that she had gotten Chinese food for us. She brought the food to us and we ate voraciously. She smiled at us, walked upstairs, and left us to our game.

Anwar is a homebody. Getting him out of the house was always a task. Not because he was anti-social or anything. Merely that being at home was important to him. I now truly understand the power in that. As his friends we never faulted him for wanting to stay in and spend an evening with his parents. They were wonderful people to be around. The Hahn family was so warm, open, and caring. The space exuded a calming love to it. I could always tell that it was a family that was held together by an unusually strong love toward each other.

Last summer Anwar told us that his mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer. It wasn’t the kind that people recover from. Anwar spent a lot of time at home last summer. As his friends we tried to support him, be there for him. I visited his house one time since then. She was tired from her job and I did not get to see her.

Last Saturday she passed away. I didn’t get to thank her. I’d like to do that now.

Thank you for the smallest things that you did for us. Thank you for setting up the Halloween party junior year of High School. Thank you for the Chinese food. Thank you for opening your house to me. Thank you for talking to me, every conversation I had with you I remember well. Thank you for being an amazing mother to Anwar, he is a strong and loving human—beyond a capacity I have seen in few other humans. Thank you.