My mother died last month leaving us all saddened and crying. It happened so fast and suddenly that I still can’t believe she’s left us. My father died when I was just 18, since then my mother, or “Amie Ji” as we used to call her has been my mother and father. She took it upon herself to provide for us and make us siblings what we are today. As I look back at all those years I admire her and praise her on her will, strength, and the love she showered on us all.
As I remember she was an extraordinary woman, in every way. My father lost one of his legs in the War, yet still she chose to marry a man on an artificial limb. When her brother’s kidneys failed 35 years ago, she volunteered and donated one of her kidneys. In those days one had to go to UK for a kidney transplant operation, she sold her jewellery for the cause. When my father died, she assumed the dual role of father and mother. She was extraordinary in every sense. There wasn’t anyone who didn’t speak good about her from the maid, to the gardener, watchman, neighbors, friends, relatives and everyone had good words to say for her.
I vividly remember when my father died, she decided to construct a house to put it on rent. Making a house is no ordinary feat, imagine a lady doing it all alone on her own. When her father became ill, she brought him to stay with her. The man had lost his memory and could barely remember or recognize us, but she served him well till his last days. During this time, she did all sorts of businesses, mostly handicrafts and clothes since she had a very good aesthetic sense. I remember, her saving money for my and my younger brother’s marriage. I am ashamed to say I did not have a penny then and to this day I do not know how she saved this much money to get us educated in the best possible way and then marry us.
She was always cheerful and full of energy. Her daily routine would start much before the crack of dawn, as she being an exceptionally religious woman would say her prayers not five but many times a day. From then on it was work and prayers til bed time. In between she would socialize with friends and neighbors. Years ago, when my car broke down and wouldn’t start, she gave me money to get a motor bike. There are countless occasions and incidents I can recount where she helped me. She had this acute habit of asking about everything about my personal life. The very first question would mostly be, “have you said your prayers?” I am basically a non-religious person, but the lady instilled it in me, through her love.
About ten years back she had a heart attack and we got her a stent procedure. Even doctors were surprised to know about her extraordinary will. A patient with diabetes, blood pressure, one kidney and heart ailment, yet she was always on the move. I would always object to her fasting during Ramadhan and but she would prevail and in the end the Iron lady would be fasting. Before Eid she would go to the bazaar and buy gifts for relatives and poor working in our colony. I was amazed always as she would save up enough money to buy everyone of them a gift, mostly clothes. There would be relatives in our home town who would be paid to perform their Qurbani, they would be gifted clothes and other stuff. I have now come to know she sponsored a lot of marriages of poor relatives in the family.
Last two years she was always talking about getting tired. I think she had premonitions, and one day a small envelope arrived in the mail. I instantly recognized her beautiful handwriting. I was surprised since we had stopped writing letters ages ago. In it was her will, with instructions about each and every possession she ever had! I read it once only, misty eyed. Since then I haven’t had the courage to read that letter.
My mother was the most amazing and inspiring woman I have ever known. The day she died, I went to her place twice. I recall she held my hand and made me sit with her on her bed. How was I to now that was to be our last meet. It pains me that she’s no more among us, I long to hug her one more time, kiss her and get her blessings, but then that is the way it is, or as we say The will of God. Now, I understand why they call it “irreplaceable loss”.