The day we are born and until many months later, we don’t exactly know what is going on. On that day, we know that we’ve left our mothers wombs, probably, but it’s not a moment we can say we remember. On that same day though, our mother’s life has changed completely – even if we’re not the first born child. We mean the world to our mothers.
I only realized just how truly incredible my mother is at 14 years old. That was 6 years ago. It’s not that I didn’t love, appreciate or care for her before that (or that I didn’t write her cute lovey-dovey messages on her birthday with so much glitter when I was 5), but it was only at the age of 14 that I properly began understanding the blessing of having a mother. Of course, I also realized just how difficult it must be for the people who didn’t have a mother. It’s a recurring thought that keeps me up at night.
In a state of sadness and confusion, I turned to my mother. She was all I had left.
It was a year after my father passed away after a virus damaged his brain. My everything- my guardian, guider, role model and safe place left us on the day of Arafah (the holiest day in Islam that falls on the 9th day of Dhull Hija, the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage) when I was only 13. My father was a pilgrim at least 16 times in his life. Going to hajj was so sacred to him it was always a priority. It was truly special when God took his life on a blessed day that meant so much to him. Needless to say, my life turned upside down.
I forced myself to be independent
At that time, it was I who had to look after myself because my mother was mourning and doing her best to provide a living for her family, which she excelled at. However, providing a living did not necessarily mean she was always available to attend to my individual needs and emotions. There were many other things for her to juggle.
After three years of living without a father, I began reflecting on my mother’s condition heavily. I started thinking of myself less and was considering how difficult it must be for her to do everything on her own. My love for her grew immensely. Because of that, I forced myself to be independent, as much as a girl without a father in her teens could.
I did very well in school, which wasn’t anything new, but it earned me a great opportunity at a university I applied to when I graduated from high school.
When I started my college years, I was finally at peace with the person I became after my father passed. I was a whole new person, very hurt and scarred but stronger than I ever was before. I mimicked my mother’s strength until I finally had it in me. I participated in so many events and seminars and was well appreciated by my Dean, who facilitated excellent opportunities for me. Being very confident about my character and success, I was mature enough to start a new bond with my mother. I was finally ready to give her my all.
I am so much like her
9 out of 10 people will tell me that I look exactly like my mother. It is by far the greatest compliment I could ever receive so I’m pretty lucky. My mother is now everything in the world to me. I stopped being moody but supportive instead. I picked myself up to be able to give back to my mother. I accompanied her to many places and at many occasions which really added to our relationship. I made a decision (a promise) to myself that I will always be there for my mother, no matter when and for no matter what. If I may say so myself, I’m doing very well in that promise.
Like I never anticipated, my father passed away and left me with so much. His sudden parting shook me, changed me, scarred me and left me really vulnerable. Any hurtful comment could trigger my sadness. Any difficult situation would remind me of an even harder situation I had at the age of 13. It’s something that’s stuck with me, forever. But because I believe in God and have faith in his will, I managed to survive what I never expected I would. My dad’s passing made me closer to my mother, closer to my inner self and encouraged me to be a strong woman just like her. I am now even more so like her. Aside from the fact that I look so much like her, and carry the same values she does, I have experienced a deep sadness just like she did. She didn’t give up. So I wasn’t going to either.
Just like her, I now pursue life with my full capacity, chasing meaningful opportunities like there’s no tomorrow. I am constantly busying myself to add value to my life and my new character. My mother is my guardian, guider, role model and safe place.
In memory of my father in this blessed month, I hope that my dad is safely rested and is looking over me while I seek life in the way he would have wanted me to. He was a pious man of profound knowledge and wisdom and treated people with utmost respect. He always lent a helping hand. He always had time for others. But more than anything, I know that he would have especially wanted me to treat my mother in the way he always had: with kindness, respect, and so much love. That’s the least I can do.