Mehrnaz Massoudi

Author and Emotional Healing Coach

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She’s Still Here

A daughter never makes it home, but her memory lives on in a garden. A son runs away, leaving his mother with the lessons she hadn’t been ready to hear. A woman grieves her lost relationship only to begin a new one with herself on the Camino de Santiago.

In this collection of nine short stories, Mehrnaz Massoudi tenderly explores the many layers of grief and rage mothers, daughters, and women around the world face throughout their lifetimes, and the healing that can be found in the most sacred of places—within ourselves.

These exquisite short stories take the reader on a rollercoaster ride where the destination is not the happy or sad ending, but the moment the main characters come to terms with their respective realities and traumas, finding places where love and acceptance can flourish, and grief is given space to unfurl.

She’s Still Here is an evocative, touching portrayal of the human experience, and its resilience in the face of profound suffering, betrayal, regret, and loss. But it is also a beautifully rendered expression of love in all of its forms, but especially the love we should give ourselves.

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My original story recounts how I learned to overcome a lifetime of self-imposed repression. It is about the nature of beauty and the determination of our humanness, to find our essence and learn to live happily regardless of where we live or what obstacles we face. 

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It has aspects of fun; growing up with Baba; my wonderful father and a large family of characters that span a century. The story takes the readers from Qazvin, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire, to remote mountain villages, to the glittering capital of Tehran with its cafés, dance clubs, fancy boutiques and lush parks, to a villa on the Caspian Sea, as well as to the “tin town” of Halaby Abad in Southern Tehran and to the rice paddies where women do backbreaking work for next to nothing in wages. In doing so, I deftly handle a minefield of politics, from the regime of the Shah to the foreign interests of British and Americans, to street marches and protests, to the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic.

Sexual politics and women’s rights are addressed throughout the memoir from the Persian custom of khastegari, to the stripping of women’s rights under the Islamic Republic. 

And it has elements of sorrow; my struggle with being burned as a child, my beloved uncle is murdered by the Revolutionary Guards of Islamic Republic and my marriage to a man of the Bahai faith is illegal.

I take my readers through a labyrinth of being guided by many spiritual teachers including my Sufi great aunt and the Sufi love poets, Hafiz and Rumi. At the centre of the labyrinth, I find the peace I have sought. As I make my way back to the beginning, I hope my story inspires readers to rise again and again. 


What readers have said …

“Beautifully told. Haunting story of a place that exists only in the minds of the people who lived during that time and space.”

“Must Read! a soulful journey with triumph over hardship. the author generously shares and we can all learn from her insights and wisdom. Loved this book.”