We Love You, Sandra Sandra Her Clan Photos Videos Happy Ending In Her Memory
Happy Ending


Eulogy - Ramin Bahrani

In War and Peace Tolstoy brilliantly depicts how someone can change on their death bed. With social fears and repercussions now irrelevant, one is free to become as vicious, petty, demanding or as selfish as they desire.

With Sandra however, death only made her more the person we had all come to know and love and crave to be near: giving, selfless, loving, independent, funny, so courageous and positive, and with enough life and love to mock death with her spirited howl.

I would never have imagined my dear friend in her final moments surrounded by family members and friends, with the warmest and biggest smile, YAWPING and HOWLING from her bed, hours before her passing. She gave everyone around her the love, energy and courage to burst into a bold life-affirming howl right in the face of death! Do you all remember it? How can I ever forget this?

For those of you not lucky enough to have heard Sandra’s howl, let me humbly do my best: 

Perhaps you would all like to try as well. Don’t be nervous. Think of Sandra’s inspiring courage and her beautiful, beaming smile and please join me. Believe me, it’s ok and it is appropriate. We’re talking about Sandra… Ok? Are your ready? 1, 2 ,3:

The great American poet, Walt Whitman, who had a love of nature and the land, just as Sandra did, writes: "I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world"

Sandra’s YAWP still reverberates inside me today and probably in all of you here… the question I now have for myself is, how can I change myself so that I will continue to hear her life-affirming YAWP tomorrow and the next day and the next?

These are the final lines of Song of Myself, from Whitman's Leaves of Grass, which sound as if they were written by Sandra herself.

"I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you."

Sandra did not fear what was coming. She accepted life for exactly what it was, with her eyes wide-open. She was at peace, living moment to moment, fighting, working, bossing, loving, and smiling every single day, even when she knew what was coming. How rebellious, subversive and utterly brave to hug death with a smile and a kiss… and boxing gloves too.

We thrived being around her because of her rare and special ability to live like this. She showed us the power of life that rests, usually untapped, inside each of us… that’s why we hungered to be near her and had such pains whenever we had to leave her presence. She was alive in ways most of us are not.

I don’t mention all of this because I want to remember her and shed a tear, or a smile, or have a sentimental glass of wine with her friends or family in five or ten or twenty years from now and then continue with my life. I want to talk about this because I never want to forget how she lived. I want to talk about this because the greatest gift I can give her is to change my life and live how she taught me… which she did just by being herself. I owe this to her as she gave me so much, and so unconditionally. She gave me - and all of us - the gift of her life, of how she lived it—and that she actually lived. I owe it to her not to just remember, but to change my life accordingly so that she may live through me. This is the challenge. And Sandra liked to challenge people— we all know that!

This past Saturday, on her 34th birthday, she asked my father to consult The Divan, the collected poems of Hafez, an Iranian poet from 700 years ago whose book of Sufi poems is consulted by millions for spiritual advice and for the telling of the future. It is consulted and trusted with a deep spiritual belief that I believe Sandra had as well. One asks a question of Hafez, and someone who has never heard the question, but is knowledgeable of the poetry and its interpretation, prays to Hafez on your behalf, opens the book to a random page, and interprets the poem to provide an answer.

Only Sandra and I knew her question and the answer. She asked her family to ask me to share this with them after she passed. And now I would like to share it with you.

Sandra wanted to know where she was going.

Hafez says:

It’s Spring-time, try and be happy,
Because there will be many flowers blooming while you are under the earth.

Even though the road from here to the Friend (God) is difficult and full of fear,
Rest easy, because you know your destination is your Friend’s house.

And now it is up to each one of us to take up the challenge and to change and nourish our souls with what Sandra was teaching us so that her flowers may bloom through us and so that thusly she may live.

Sandra Her Clan Photos Videos Happy Ending In Her Memory