What My Mother Taught Me

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No matter what I do to move on from this pain, deep down inside I will always know that I’ll never get to hug my mom again. I miss you.

Life took you away from us, too young. You will always be, our hero unsung. I miss you mom.

The only reason I don’t want every child to have a mom like you, is because I know that everyone may not have the strength to lose a mother like you. I miss you.

– All quotes by those who have lost their mom from wishesmessages.com

As I said in my Eid 2015 entry,

Mom, may this all have been a source of great goodness to you who now rests with our all merciful, all loving and all powerful lord.

May we meet again mom, in the highest of heavens – I love you!

Thank god I had the chance to meet you, love you and learn from you.

Thank god I have the chance to still be the best that I can be.

What my mother taught me …

  1. Faith is Simple
  2. Be Kind for the sake of God even if you don’t get anything back in return … ever
  3. Always remember death to live – doing for this world what is needed to survive with dignity and doing for the hereafter to find eternal peace
  4. Don’t take blessings for granted, both people and things, especially those who touch our lives and hearts in so many ways … before it is too late
  5. Our purpose is to be believe and do good for the sake of god – how we do it, is our choice – no need to be like anyone else, no need for your actions to be approved by anyone else or even accept it.
  6. You don’t have to love everybody, you only have to accept them with humility, empathy and good character by knowing that no one is inferior or superior to another.
  7. Respect all … not for the sake of being loved or recognized, respect for the sake of god: calling others, visiting them, asking about their families and general well-being, congratulating them in good times and consoling them in bad, generously serving and helping them, accepting others’ apologies, giving honest advice and standing by people in their times of need.
  8. You want to do something? Do it! You want to go somewhere? Go! Worried something is impossible? Try! Feeling Helpless? Do something! Upset? Clarify! Be Positive – take action!
  9. Never go out of your way to be liked, seen or recognized, go and serve yourself, your family and live without needing others outsource when absolutely impossible to do something on your own or if it helps give hope to others.Jasmin
  10. Smile … often
  11. Have ZERO expectations and go ahead, do the generous, friendly, respectful, and compassionate thing
  12. Faith is like the roots of a tree; grounded, stable, deep and strong; with it, one is able to handle anything. With good deeds, faith is the only thing that any of us will take on the day we depart this world.
  13. Gift others
  14. Living means always being tested in life. Being tested is a test of patience and a test of faith and trust that god, the one testing us, will get us through.
  15. Communicate, communicate, communicate with the best of words … makes life more simple, harmonious, and stable. Communicate when you – love, dislike, are strong, are weak, need something or when unsure, and most importantly, say no with gentleness.
  16. Forgive others by leaving the door open, not complaining, learning from hurtful experiences and … moving on.
  17. Your worth is related to how generous you are … and generosity is not about food and drink, it is how much you benefit others and point others towards ways of goodness, both giving and accepting from others as well.
  18. If you need to use social media, use it for good: say good or say nothing at all and spread goodness or means to goodness.
  19. Only one you can trust with anything is god. Take the means, and ask for information and trust only in god.
  20. roseThere is beauty in everything, and if we can’t see it, we can make things and moments beautiful, not necessarily materially beautiful, but spiritually beautiful.
  21. Respect the young and the youth by sharing who you are with them, don’t hold back and don’t try to win their approval, just be kind yet strong.
  22. Maintain ties of kinship by keeping in touch – it is an essential element of faith
  23. Create an eternal bond, not temporary life on earth bond, with your child through faith – discovering it, sharing it and living it
  24. Always say and be a walking example of truth, honesty and integrity, no matter what people think
  25. Do things TODAY and not TOMORROW or else the best can pass you by.
  26. Have boundaries and stick to them. When none are set, resentment sets in. When too many are set, injustice towards others sets in. Set them in matters specific to you and your family that may be hurtful or harmful. Let go of all boundaries in matters that benefit yourself and others.
  27. A Woman’s role is essentially to give love, find and share hope with others – and that is true beauty.
  28. Live a story worth having. Live a story worth sharing. Live a story worthy to be deemed beautiful. That is your life, in good deeds, with clear intentions and purpose.

Images courtesy of panuruangjan, Victor Habbick, winnond / freedigitalphotos.net

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Eid 2015: In this Eid … Be Authentic

End

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought. – Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings

I am sure there are many many other learnings but I have focused on the top 29 things my mom taught me and I hope they have brought peace to your heart as they have to mine.

I have found that …

one must learn from the death of a loved on … and change

… learning without changing is no learning at all

… a sad loss of life and a missed golden opportunity

I miss my mom dearly, my sister misses her dearly, my father misses her dearly, her friends miss her dearly, her sisters miss her dearly, every single person she met and touched, misses her dearly.

I only wish, that my life, will one day mean to others what my mom’s life meant to ours.

And I wish, I only wish, that my life ends with a good eternal end.

May it be a blessed, kareem, mubarak Eid to all of you and at the end of this year’s version of Ramadan Living, I leave you with the Top things My Mother Taught Me in a subsequent post and an answer to a question I posed in my post on 20 Ramadan:

What to do when you wake up one day and find that you are carrying a bag of emotions including disappointment, fear, pain, doubt etc as a result of various challenges in one’s life from health, wealth to relationships?

Reflecting on what my mom taught me, I learned that the only way through is to clarify my own heart’s intention, i.e. what I seek and why I seek it, whether or not it is pleasing to god, to identify the key fear, two or three, that drive most conclusions I come up with as a result of these challenges, and just communicate – clearly, assertively yet compassionately letting go of these key fears and focusing on what my heart wants.

While the outcome may not be positive on the outside, you will be satisfied that you acted on a positive sense of self worth.

You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough. You don’t need other people to validate you; you are already VALUABLE. – Unknown

Mom, may this all have been a source of great goodness to you who now rests with our all merciful, all loving and all powerful lord.

May we meet again mom, in the highest of heavens – I love you!

Thank god I had the chance to meet you, love you and learn from you.

Thank god I have the chance to still be the best that I can be.

Image courtesy of dan / freedigitalphotos.net

29 Ramadan 2015: IT … Always has Meaning

Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share… Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences … Live your life with intention. – Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

life

There is not a single person who has lived, is living and will live on this earth who does’t have a story.

This story may seemingly end upon one’s death, but in fact it ends when one’s life has been accounted for all the good deeds and all the mistakes one has committed.

The point is that,

… we all have a story, but what makes this story worth having is – a good eternal end.

… we all have a story, but what makes this story worth sharing is – a clear intention.

… we all have a story, but what makes this story beautiful is – a clear purpose.

In other words, it is not the money, nor the status, nor the looks that make one’s story worth having, sharing or even beautiful.

It is the deeds, the intention and the purpose that one carries and makes clear to all around them.

My mother’s life taught me to …

watch my actions, watch my intention, and watch my purpose in life 

to make it a life worth living 

Image courtesy of criminalatt / freedigitalphotos.net

28 Ramadan 2015: Role of a Woman

A beautiful woman delights the eye; a wise woman, the understanding; a pure one, the soul. – Minna Antrim

Woman

This post is not for some to disagree or agree with, this post only brings across how I felt when my mom’s life all came to an end and I would add to that, my beloved grandma who passed away 3 months prior to her.

As I stood watching my beloved grandma for the last time before her burial, and likewise, as I stood watching my beloved mother for the last time before her burial, only two thoughts came across my mind – the summary of all their years and interestingly enough, their role as women.

My grandma was a stay-at-home mom. She raised 8 children, moved to a place she never knew before with her husband just to support his career goals, lost her husband approximately 45 years into their marriage, lost her daughter at a young age of 37. She lived 20 more years after these two events. She celebrated weddings, saw her grandchildren, great grandchildren, lost parents, brothers and sisters. Suffered health challenges both her own and her friends and family. The only thing that came to my mind was, WOW, she did all that with patience and looking forward to the good and leaving the bad – what a woman!

My mom was one of the first few groups of women to complete a University education and move away from her parents at a very young age. She raised 2 children, moved to various places supporting my father to achieve his dreams. She worked – she was a teacher – for a few years but then dedicated her life to … life. She saw her grandchildren, lost a parent, a sister. Suffered health challenges both her own and her friends and family. Kept up her interests and connected with long lost relatives and gave love to everyone she knew. The only thing that came to my mind was, WOW, she did all that with patience and looking forward to the good and leaving the bad – what a woman!

You see in both cases, I didn’t think of their status, or reputation, or popularity. I didn’t think of their wealth or assets. I didn’t think of their education or literacy. I didn’t think of their image or their job titles at work. All I thought about is their role as women …

to give love, find and share hope with all

Was that what it came down to?

Yes – and it made me revisit my whole life again.

While pursuing one’s dream is not only a right, but a responsibility on each one of us given the air to breath in this life, it is not what our life is worth. Our life’s worth as women, and others I would say for that matter, is how much love we give and how much hope we find and share with others.

And that is what I saw – and that is what I felt – and nothing can change that.

If doing what one loves achieves this purpose so be it, but I continue to see women striving for many things that either tires them out or limits their ability to give love, find and share hope.

My mother taught me that …

we are remembered by the love we give and the hope we find within ourselves and share with others

And that is the beauty of a woman.

Image courtesy of worradmu / freedigitalphotos.net

27 Ramadan 2015: Don’t be afraid of …

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. ― Brené Brown

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… boundaries.

Should we have them? Do we need them? Will they hurt us now? Will they hurt us in the afterlife?

I wouldn’t say my mom was excellent with boundaries, but I wouldn’t say she didn’t have any either. She seemed to maintain an interesting balance – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

What I learned from her however is that not setting any boundaries is not good. Not setting any boundaries comes down to fear, fear that the person who might be sometimes rightfully kept on the “other side of the fence”, will not accept it and will even go out of their way to hurt us in one way or another, directly or indirectly.

It is interesting to note however that those who seem to have many many boudanries set, or what I call, harsh inflexible boundaries set, are equally afraid of getting hurt or losing out.

So what works?

Like all things, it is balance.

There are boudanries that matter, and there are those that don’t.

For matters that may be harmful and involve yourself or your family, there should be a clear and consistent application of boundaries with active reflection and strength to ward off fears that may or may not be founded.

If these fears are founded, thank god you picked them up. If these fears are unfounded, thank god you did something about boundaries that will prevent future feelings of resentment, isolation and potentially negative behavior and mistrust towards others.

For matters that benefit ourselves or others … boundary-less. I would also ask myself why I would want to set boundaries in matters that bring benefits to many?

As we approach the last couple of days of this blessed month, may god make us witness more and more of them in our future, a big lesson that my mother’s life taught me is that …

Boundaries are essential.

When none are set, resentment sets in.

When too many are set, injustice towards others sets in. 

Set them in matters, specific to you and your family, that may be hurtful or harmful.

Let go of all boundaries in matters that benefit yourself and others.

 

Image courtesy of twobee / freedigitalphotos.net

26 Ramadan 2015: Today is Life … Tomorrow is?

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh. ― A.A. Milne

R26

Like the dandelion, we might be here today, but there is no guarantee for tomorrow.

I truly did not see how this was a character trait in my mom until she sadly passed away.

When I reflected on all her behaviors and actions throughout, let us say the last 10 years, I could quickly see that she never relied or believed that she could see the next day.

She always did things NOW.

When she wanted to speak to someone, she did it NOW.

When she wanted to buy something for someone, she did it NOW.

When she wanted anything … it was always NOW.

And while I sadly thought it was perfectionist tendencies, it was actually her not relying on what tomorrow brought.

I tried to implement this learning in my own life in the past two months and quickly saw her point.

If I delayed, I always paid another price to that delay, be it pressure, inconvenience or simply missing out on an opportunity to do good or an opportunity that would have benefited me.

The reality is we can’t guarantee tomorrow.

If my mom could pass away from the flu, we could pass away from anything at any moment.

My mom taught me …

to be NOW, to do NOW, to think NOW or else the best can pass you by

 

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / freedigitalphotos.net

25 Ramadan 2015: Always say the Truth

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot. ― Czesław Miłosz

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I can definitely vouch for that.

The number of times mom stood up and spoke up with most, if not all people around her, in silence are countless.

What I can say though, as uncomfortable it may have felt at the time, is that she was pretty much right ALL the time.

I bet that she is so thankful now for the courage she had during such times now that she is in another world and life altogether where she can reap benefits of this courage.

It wasn’t that she was against people being who they are, on the contrary, she wanted to help people be the best that they can be and she used her courage to do that. Whether people accepted it or not, that was not her concern.

She never apologized for it and while there are times that this truth could have been said differently, her intention was in the right place and as she always sought forgiveness from god for any unintentional wrong doings, her intention alone is enough to give her rewards that only those who are lucky would attain.

At least now, anyone who was facing her in such a situation will always remember how ‘she said the truth’.

My mom taught me to …

always say and be a walking example of truth, honesty and integrity

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

24 Ramadan 2015: The Secret to an Everlasting Bond with your Children

What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it. – C.S. Lewis

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A lot of parents seek to be friends with their kids.

Some try to find that friendship through rewards and consequences. Some try to find it by sharing some of their interests. Some try to find it by changing their values – sometimes to the better and unfortunately sometimes to the worse. Some try to find it by letting go of their passions and interests.

What my mom taught me AFTER her death is that friendship can only be found when both parent and child see the same truth – and that truth is faith.

While I appreciate all the love, compassion, protection, support, meals and gifts given to me, it was only when we both started to see, and more importantly share, the truth about life and about living, that we truly found the true friendship that both parents and children seek.

In fact, what bonds me to mom now, even after her death, is the process of discovery we both went through, and the love for god and for doing good that we tried to support each other in.

And while she may not be here with me, whenever I pray or do anything good for the sake of god, I always think of her and remember the first time we shared or spoke about these experiences or the first time she taught me something new or the first time I shared with her something new.

What my mom taught me is that …

the best bond one can have with their child is a bond of friendship through discovery, sharing and living, with faith

 

 

Image courtesy of digitilart / freedigitalphotos.net

23 Ramadan 2015: Relatives …

Hermes gazed up at the stars. ‘My dear young cousin, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the eons, it’s that you can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it. It doesn’t matter if they hate you, or embarrass you, or simply don’t appreciate your genius for inventing the Internet–‘ ― Rick Riordan

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This one was an interesting post to write – I couldn’t not write it – because my mom definitely was a role model when it came to establishing and maintaining ties with her extended relatives.

You see, it is not that she went out of her way to do anything grand or superior, but it was the little things she did like calling them, asking about them, providing advice when asked, being happy of them in their good times and listening to them in their tough times. Simple … and basic.

The key you see, is always being in touch, and not necessarily the closest of friends which can only be done based on chemistry and values.

Now, did any of this result in anything spectacular? No, not really. What it do though is prepare her for her last breath on earth knowing that she did her best in maintaining ties of kinship and when asked, she will be ready to answer.

I don’t want to delve too much into why it is important to maintain these ties except to say that god asked us too … and whatever he asks us to do means that it benefits us … and ultimately, these ties are for social stability, i.e. your family should be the first to support emotionally and physically especially in tough times. Of course one has to have the right character for relatives to reach out to them during such times, and no one would know our character unless, again, we were in touch.

Will all relatives appreciate or agree with this approach? No, but does it matter if the intention is good? At the end of day, you will be in touch and all that will do is soften hearts with no expectations.

My mom taught me that …

Keeping in touch is what maintains ties of kinship and all as part of faith

 

 

Image courtesy of Feelart / freedigitalphotos.net

22 Ramadan 2015: Respect the Young

A person’s a person no matter how small. – Dr. Seuss

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I have already mentioned how my mom’s grandkids miss her so dearly for the beauty she brought into their lives.

In this post I want to expand this thought and note how they miss her so dearly for how she made them feel – respected – and according to my own daughter, it was her:

  • cooking;
  • kindness;
  • ideas;
  • love;
  • hobbies;
  • passion;
  • ways of doing things;
  • flowers; and
  • smell

that made them feel that respect.

These are all aspects her grandkids, all under the age of 8 felt, and what a lovely list.

I bet that if I polled her nieces and nephews, they would probably come up with more or less a similar list, this was who she was.

She cooked for love. Her kindness was overwhelming. Her ideas were unique. Her love was endless. Her hobbies were infectious. Her passion was love. Her ways of doing things were beautiful. Her flowers were a reflection of who she was. Her smell … was mother … grandmother … wife … sister … daughter … niece … aunt … and friend.

May god rest her soul, I will quote one of my friend’s who has a young son who met my mom once who said after her death how she had never met someone who did not get flustered with kids and was so respectful of them.

If doing all these things is what makes the young and youth feel respected, then the formula is not so hard, is it?

My mom taught me …

respect everyone, especially the young, by sharing who you are with them

 

 

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / freedigitalphotos.net