Dear Ammi. I know you are in a better place now. I don’t know for sure if you can hear me out where you are now. I am so grateful to you for everything you did for me. As I grow older, your memories and what you did for me are only growing stronger and clearer. I know I will never repay you for all you did but would still like to honor you with the following thoughts.
- You loved me even before I was born. You loved me even before you laid your eyes on me. I may have kicked your tummy a few times but you responding by a gentle smile.
- You fed me when I did not how to feed myself. You fed me before you fed yourself. You helped me when was totally helpless.
- You changed me when I was stinky and I dirtied myself, while others may have covered their mouth.
- You bathed me when I could not clean myself. You put me to sleep in comfortable places, even when you slept in not-so-comfortable place.
- You taught me how to talk, and spent countless hours when I struggled with making a sentence. You patiently listened and taught me how to correctly say it.
- You taught me how to eat (yes, you told me to eat from my right hand if I tried to use my ‘wrong hand’, if you know what I mean). You taught me how to say, “Shukar Allah” (Thank God) when I finished eating. You also taught me WHY I should say so.
- You taught me how to walk, when I would stumble. You held my hand whenever I needed one. Even when I drove you crazy running around.
- You took me to school as I grew old enough to enter that phase of my life. You taught me how important it is to have a good education. If my grades dipped, you did not see me a flop but encouraged me to continue to work hard.
- You worked hard when Dad was going through financial difficulties, to make sure you provide for all, no matter if you were frail or ill.
- You still ‘let go off me ‘ to seek higher education and a better life when I left for United States, even though you were heart broken. You put my interest above your own- not only around this time but throughout my life!
- You even helped me find a life partner for me and reassured me this was good for me- and you were so right, as I look back at 31 years of my married life.
- You took care of my two children as they entered this world and showed them the same motherly love you showed me. You did the same things to them what you did for me.
- You ignored at times when I was not so nice to you, even though for very short periods. You forgave me all the time as if nothing happened. Your forgiveness was second only to God’s forgiveness.
- You inspired me to be a writer, since you were such a good author and a poet. (Some of it may have been through genetic transfer, I think).
- Even when you fell ill and physically unable to do much in the last part of your life, and could not communicate verbally, you continued to show love for me.
- Above all, you showed me the path to God. You taught me the right from wrong. You taught me by example. You lived a ‘righteous’ life however one may define it. You did not hurt people. You were always there to offer help to others in the hour of their need. You taught me the importance of staying connected with God. You showed me how to live a humble life. You showed me how to be on an even keel, no matter what kind of bumps I faced on the road of life. One of the best times of our lives was when we performed Umrah, our pilgrimage to mecca and medina. Doing the tawaf, circling the Ka’aba, with you was one of the highlights of my life. You took care of my little son and daughter in the hotel room, allowing me and Farhana to visit Ka’aba, so we could contemplate more deeply without running around chasing them in the courtyard of ka’aba!
You were the living proof for me of the many verses from the Qur’an and hadith of Prophet Muhammad on the importance of mothers, such as:
We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The Qur’an 46:15.
Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood’. The Qur’an 17:23-24.
Paradise is under the feet of your mother. Hadith of Prophet Muhammad
A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. ( Hadith: Bukhari, Muslim).
Your favors were countless and this in no way , shape or form is trying to list all of them because I know I will never be able to repay for what you did for me. Your love was second only to God’s love. Your forgiveness was second only to God’s forgiveness. Your kindness was second only to God’s kindness. Your care-taking was second only to God’s care-taking.
But what I can easily say is that I would not be who I am without you (and Dad of course).
May you rest in peace, in the companionship of the most righteous ones, near God, in the highest places in Jennah. I hope to one day see you again and will strive hard to make sure I am deserving of that honor. Ameen.