A mother is perhaps God’s greatest blessing – this I truly believe. I know this has been said many different times and in many different ways, but it is never enough and perhaps needs to be said again and again as long as humanity lasts.
I lost my own mother sixteen years ago, and oh, what a loss. I suddenly found that now I was the older generation and the shoes I had to fill were too big for me. When my oldest daughter was in the hospital expecting her first child after yearning for one for seven years, my emotions were so intense – I wanted my mother and her mother back, back with me to help us, support us and share with us this moment.
My mother was gentle, kind, educated and wise or perhaps time has perfected the image I have of her. She left us with priceless pearls of goodness and wisdom such as the instructions to dress well and with extra care while attending the functions of those less fortunate than ourselves lest we unintentionally give the impression that we did not care enough and hurt their feelings. She taught us to stand up respectfully if we heard the national anthem on TV even if we were alone in the living room and there was no one watching.
Sometimes I want to share a joke with her or show her a poem, for she loved poetry. She taught me to appreciate the famous Urdu poets Iqbal, Ghalib and Hali. Perhaps she smiles her beautiful smile up there and understands what I feel: “But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand, and the sound of a voice that is still!”
When A.R. Rahman, the Indian music director received his Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire” this year, he mentioned his mother, “Mother is here – her blessings are there with me.” It was both touching and fitting, since I knew exactly what he meant and was happy for him, though perhaps a little nostalgic for my own mother.
The story goes, and I paraphrase here – that one day God informing Moses of his mother’s death said “Be careful how you speak now, Moses, for the mother who always prayed for you is no longer alive.”
That is the station held by a mother and this I believe.
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