Posts tagged ‘mother’

She lives on in us …

I woke up this morning after a very restless night feeling extremely lost. alone and out of sync. This is a day each year that I dread to relive. Eighteen years ago on this day, the person whom we loved and adored most, was taken from us and the world has never been the same again.

Ammi was unique, she was the glue that held us together. She was the cornerstone of our existence, the person who was always there to love us, to care for us, to celebrate with us and to unruffle our feathers and soothe us whenever anything went wrong. She was our guardian angel, our best friend, our confidante, our cheerleader- the person who loved us unconditionally and in whose eyes we could do no wrong. We were the most important people in her life and she always made us feel special and important.

That day 18 years ago is still so vivid in my memory. We were in a hospital as we had often been over the years. Ammi had multiple health problems – systemic lupus, hypertension, pulmonary embolism, rheumatoid arthritis etc and so she sometimes had to spend days and weeks in hospital. But she would always come home. Except this time! We had been in hospital more than a week. That day she had undergone multiple more tests because of some new symptoms. The doctor had just come in and told us the result of those tests. Apparently Ammi had Hepatitis C and she had 5 tumours in her liver which were malignant. A few minutes following this diagnosis, as I sat by her bedside holding her hand, Ammi breathed her last. Just like that she was gone.

The next few days were spent in a blur. First there was disbelief, then a slow realization of what had happened. Ammi was gone. The woman who had been there for us all our lives had gone to heaven. She had left a vacuum that no-one else would ever be able to fill.

Ammi had been married while still in her teens so she grew up along with us. She was self-educated – a voracious reader of everything – fiction, literature, poetry, newspapers – you name it. She watched films, documentaries and listened to discussions on television. Most people who met her assumed that she had a Masters’ degree or a PhD. She could carry on a conversation on any topic. She was passionate about so many things, had a strong belief in the goodness of people and our ability to make things better.

Despite being so ill for almost 20 years, Ammi enjoyed life. She was always happy and whenever anyone enquired about her welfare, she would smile and say “I’m fine”. No complaints. No whining. That smile was warm and affectionate and lit up her face and eyes and drew you to her. She was a very loving, thoughtful and sensitive person – empathetic to others’ needs, ever watchful and available to give advice, to offer help or just be there when someone needed her. Totally selfless to the core. She was so very generous and forgave people instinctively. Sometimes we wondered how she could forgive someone who had been nasty but that was who she was. She would say maybe they had their reasons, maybe it was in a moment of weakness that they had done or said what they had, that it was okay.

Ammi’s sense of humour was really infectious. She would find something funny in almost everything. We would be in fits of laughter after sharing stories or experiences of days gone by. All harmless. Just a reason to smile and enjoy the fact that we were together.

The past year has been rough on many of us – seeing so much suffering, losing friends and colleagues, having to distance ourselves from people we care about, restricting our social contact, struggling economically – it has all been difficult and continues to challenge each one of us. The uncertainty is hard but we have to put up with it and somehow support each other through it. This is when I miss Ammi even more. She was so good at being there for everyone, for consoling people during their worst crises. Her mellow, gentle and warm nature somehow made everything seem much easier to deal with.

As we commemorate the 18th anniversary of her transition to a better place, I would like to honour her memory by showing kindness to another human being, by alleviating someone’s hunger or suffering and by committing to being the best version of myself that I can be.

Ammi was a wonderful and exceptional human being. She gave so much of herself to those she came in contact with and certainly contributed to making this a better world. I hope that we – her children – are a small reflection of who she was. That is the least that we owe her.

April 1, 2021 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Memories are all that’s left …

April 1 is always going to be a very difficult day for me to get through. It marks the day that I held my darling Ammi in my arms for the very last time. That was the most heartbreaking day ever. How could the person at the center of our entire universe be no more? How would we ever learn to cope without her? It was impossible to accept and yet it was something we had to face – that everyone has to face at some time in their lives. This was thirteen years ago.

Ammi on the streets of hong kongToday on the anniversary of her death it has become no easier. The pain and the emptiness are still there, as are the wonderful memories that she left behind.

My mother was the most beautiful person I have ever known – both inside and out. She was full of love and warmth and was totally selfless. Everyone else’s needs took precedence over hers. Everyone’s happiness, comfort and well-being were her primary concern – especially her family’s. She could not bear to see anyone unhappy. It seemed to be her mission in life to console, comfort and reassure.

I can’t remember a time when she was not accessible to friends, neighbours, relatives, all and sundry for advice or simply to be used as a sounding board. Her mere presence was soothing.

In a family where we were never very physically demonstrative as we were growing up, Ammi was ever ready to bestow a loving smile, a warm hug and soft, reassuring words to make everything okay. I don’t know how she managed it but she did. It was magical. She was magical.

As I woke up this morning I could feel her presence. I could almost hear her laughter – she had the most amazing sense of humour. There was a calmness about her that transferred itself to everyone she came in contact with.

The first thing I did this morning was to go to the cemetery, put flowers on her grave, say a prayer for her and try to dwell on all the happy times that I had spent with her. I had already organized a meal for 40 kids at an orphanage and am donating some money in her name to a health charity. These are things she would have liked. She worried so much about orphans and about people who didn’t have access to good healthcare. She spent many an hour talking about it and trying to figure out how things could be made better.

My mother had a very good heart. She was compassionate and sensitive, caring and generous. A beautiful human being without whom this world is poorer. Rest in Peace Ammi. We love you and miss you immensely and will always try and be whom you wanted us to be.


April 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm 3 comments

Wish you were here Ammi

Ammi and TigguToday is Ammi’s birthday. Because their birthdays were only one day apart, each year we would make Abbaji and Ammi cut a cake together. Both of them used to fuss about not celebrating birthdays at ‘their age’ and yet when my siblings and I bought them cards and presents and sang Happy Birthday, one could see the pleasure in their eyes and in their faces knowing that they were loved and appreciated.

As I sit here this morning, I feel extremely lonely because there is no-one to fuss over, no-one to buy flowers for, to make a special meal for, to buy lavish gifts for. But much more than that, there is no Ammi to hug. Oh God those hugs were so warm, so comforting, totally priceless.

Everyone thinks their mothers are special and I guess to them they are, but my mama was extra special. I have never met a person more down-to-earth, more loving, more selfless, more compassionate and more sensitive than she was. Despite being seriously ill for a large part of her life, I can still remember that contagious, gentle smile that was ever ready to greet anyone who came across her and that sense of humor that often had us in stitches.

Her thoughtfulness, her desire to help ease the hurt you were feeling, her empathy with anyone who was going through anything remotely painful and her ability to provide the tender loving care that was needed to reduce that pain even a little, made her the go-to person for all and sundry. She was everyone’s sounding board. She could be trusted to lock away the confidences you shared with her and not to judge you for whatever mistakes you made. How could one person be so wise, so loving and giving, not expecting anything in return? And yet she was.

Ammi left us too soon but she has left an enormous bundle of memories for us to treasure and find comfort in whenever we feel alone. I can feel her watching over us from above and smiling down on us. Happy birthday my darling Ammi. Rest in Peace. We always loved you to bits and we will continue to do so as long as we live.

January 6, 2016 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

Coming home …

Whenever I travel, whether domestically or internationally, I always look forward to coming home to Karachi. It is the city where I was born and where I have spent the last many years. Each time I land at the airport it is as if the city is opening up its arms and welcoming me back with a warm hug.

And then I come home and I can’t help feeling the heartbreak of not having Ammi and Abbaji here to welcome me. Whenever I went anywhere, no matter how frequently, I always came back to them. They would be waiting to ask how the trip had been, to hear the many stories I had to tell, to share in my excitement, my achievement or my disappointment. Although they never expected anything, I always brought home something special for them because I wanted to see the joy in their eyes, the smiles on their faces as I handed over my gifts. Abbaji, ever the banker, would always say “Why did you bring this? I have everything I need. You shouldn’t waste your hard-earned money like this”. Ammi would just smile, make a fuss over my gift, give me a hug and then settle down to hear all about my trip.

Walking into the house now is difficult because although they are everywhere in spirit as are the many special memories that I am lucky enough to have, I walk in the front door and immediately turn to look into their room (force of habit) knowing that they won’t be there, that they have gone forever. I know I was fortunate to have them with me for as long as I did but whenever you lose your parents, it is too soon … and you never really get over it.

Today is one of those days when I returned home and missed them terribly. I unpacked my suitcase and looked at the things I have brought back from Sri Lanka – but that special excitement, the thrill of taking things out and showing them to Ammi, of just chattering away without the fear of being judged – that was missing and I felt lonely. It is the kind of loneliness that will never go away no matter how many people I have in my life.




August 16, 2015 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Ammi we hope we can be a small reflection of you

Ammi and Tiggu 4The depression had already started setting in yesterday evening. I got up very early this morning knowing that it was Ammi’s death anniversary. The fact that she has been gone 12 years is hard to come to terms with.

It seems like only yesterday that she was lying on her bed and smiling as I walked into the house after work – warm, loving, welcoming and anxious to hear about my day. That is what I miss most about her. She was such a calm and loving person, such a great listener. One could talk to her about anything at all without feeling judged. I know my siblings all felt the same way. She was our closest friend – someone who was the repository of all our wildest dreams and our greatest fears.

As time passed I thought her loss would become easier to deal with. But it hasn’t been easy at Ammi and Tiggu 3all. I try to focus on the happy memories, on her gentleness, her love and her great sense of humor. It brings her closer to me when I do that but the emptiness is something that is still hard to bear. Living in the same house and not having her nor Abbaji around is not easy at all. I am glad we valued them when they were alive, that we let them know how much we loved and cared about them.

I went to the cemetery this morning to lay flowers on their grave, to say a prayer for them both and to tell them how much they were loved and missed by each and every one of us. Sending food to an orphanage in their memory is something that has become a standard thing I do every year. Ammi had a soft corner for orphans.

I have been thinking about supporting an initiative in the healthcare area because I know that both Ammi and Abbaji worried a lot about the pain that people who were ill went through and the lack of adequate access to healthcare for a large number of people who suffered from a variety of illnesses.

Ammi, you were such a wonderful person, such a great mother and friend. We all loved you so much and we still do. We admired you for the great human being you were. May God keep you in His care. We know that He rewards those who were kind, generous and compassionate – and you certainly were all those things!

As we go through life, we hope we can all be a reflection of you. You taught us so much. We will forever be grateful.

April 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm 3 comments

Happy birthday Ammi – you made us who we are!

Ammi & Abbaji7Each January they celebrated their birthdays at midnight together. Abbaji’s birthday fell on January 5 and Ammi’s on January 6. We loved the fact that the celebrations continued for two days. They asked us not to make a fuss but we always did. Our parents were very special and whatever little we could do to show them how much we loved them, was nowhere near enough. They deserved much much more.

Ammi was a pillar of strength for Abbaji and for all of us. It was difficult to understand how a soft, gentle and loving woman could be the glue that held us together. She was there in our most challenging moments, she offered kindness, tender loving care, compassion, words of understanding and support to anyone she came in contact with. She never had an ill word to say about anyone and, despite being seriously ill for decades, she never lost her sense of humor or that soft, charming, sweet smile.

AmmiThrough all the years that I was growing up I remember Ammi busy seeing to everyone’s needs, never complaining, never asking for anything in return. Whenever any of us asked her if she wanted anything she would just smile and say “I have everything I need”. In the early days when we were kids and Abbaji was a struggling young banker, she had very little. My father was a very generous man and even though his income was small, in addition to the needs of his family, he always tried to fulfill the needs of his parents, siblings and friends. Ammi supported him completely in everything he did.

I know everyone thinks their mothers are very special but my mother was truly one of a kind. I don’t think I have ever met anyone so selfless, so caring, so giving,  so full of love and compassion. Although she never made any demands on any of us, we would pick up gifts for her wherever in the world we happened to be – things we thought she would enjoy. She appreciated everything we bought and derived so much pleasure from the gifts.

I remember a time my brother sent her a new walkman (yes this was pre-iPod and mp3 player days). She was so excited because she loved listening to music. A family member came to the house later that day, saw the walkman and asked her if he could have it and she gave it to him without any hesitation. We were really annoyed with him but she said his heart was set on it … and it was okay.

Ammi11A lot of people took advantage of her good nature and she let them. It wasn’t that she didn’t know they were taking advantage of her. She just liked making people happy, seeing a smile on their faces. Her first instinct always was to say yes to whatever was asked of her.

Having been married at a very early age, she was self-educated. She read a lot, watched films and documentaries and engaged in social and political discussions. Anyone who met her thought that she must at least have a Masters’ Degree. We used to laugh about it and Abbaji used to say that she should get a PhD. 🙂

Throughout our school years and our work life, I remember running into the house, seeking her out and telling her everything that had happened during the day. She would listen patiently and smile and ask questions and laugh. It seemed that she lived her life through us. To a lot of feminists that may seem wrong but it was what she wanted. Does anyone have a right to decide how someone else chooses to live? She lived for her family … and that is the way she wanted it.

Ammi was ill for decades. It was painful for us to see her in hospital so often. But she was such a good patient – such an easy person to look after. When we think of her even now what we remember most is her smile, her laughter, her love. She really was the best mother in the world. God bless her. We miss you Ammi but we know that wherever you are, there is a smile on your face. 🙂


January 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

Ammi we love you and miss you

ammi She was an angel sent down from heaven to make sure that we had an absolutely amazing childhood and she left no stone unturned in ensuring that, as we were growing up, our lives were filled with love and laughter. She taught us what it meant to be gentle, compassionate, loving and generous human beings. Even her silence was comfortine; her smile made all our pain and worries disappear. Her life centered around us – her family. She was the best mother in the world and all of us adored her.

On April 1 eleven years ago Ammi breathed her last and left a gap in our lives that no-one can ever fill. Her physical presence, her voice, her lovely smile, her subtle sense of humour are all things that each of us misses acutely. In spirit though she never really left us. It is like she continues to watch over us every second of every day – celebrating each achievement, smiling with us through our happy moments and being comfortingly close through every difficult period of our lives.

Even now after eleven years, whenever I go home from a day at work or return from a trip, intuitively I look towards what used to be her room expecting her to be sitting there on the lookout for me, ready to welcome me home and listen to my so-called ‘adventures’, hear about the people I had met and the things I had done during the day. She was such a good listener and always knew exactly what to say. She was our confidante, our friend, our mentor and sometimes even our partner-in-crime especially when we were trying to get out of doing something that Abbaji wanted us to do. She covered up for us whenever it looked as if we might get into trouble for some minor mischief that we had gotten into and she was always there to protect and defend us whenever we needed her to.

Ammi was ill for many many years. She suffered from high blood pressure, systemic lupus, pulmonary embolisms and various complications. She spent a lot of days and nights in hospitals in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Karachi … but never through her worst suffering did she lose her ability to smile and comfort the rest of us. We marvelled at her patience, her ability to bear suffering without ever uttering a word of complaint. At times when she should just have been thinking about herself, she continued to worry about what Abbaji and the rest of us were going through. She didn’t want to put us through any discomfort or be the cause for worry. Whenever anyone asked how she was, she always smiled broadly and responded “I am fine.” She was the most amazing person in the world. We were so lucky to have her in our lives for as long as we did.

Today as we mark her 11th death anniversary, all any of us can do is to honour her memory by continuing to be the kind of human beings she wanted us to be – to care about each other, to love life and live it to the fullest, to work with integrity and dedication and to be humane, kind and compassionate to all those around us. Ammi, we miss you so very much. You were the best mother in the world and we will always love you. May God keep you in his care and bestow upon you all the wonderful bounties of heaven which you so richly deserve.

April 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm 3 comments

Ammi – you continue to live in our hearts!

ammi in smilesTen years ago, on this day, the person who was the key to our existence was taken from us. I can still remember so many years later my total sense of disbelief that she was gone. How had it happened so suddenly – one minute she was smiling at me and the next moment she had breathed her last? Why is it that it had never occurred to us that this day would come? It was as if our very foundation had been shaken. Abbaji and my siblings and I were all in a state of shock. Our sweet darling Ammi had been taken from us. It was just so unthinkable, so totally unbelievable.

Time passed and as I threw myself into my work, I began to realize that no matter how much I missed her, she had not really left us. She was a part of us and somehow in everything I did she was still with me encouraging me, cheering me on, celebrating with me and watching over me. Her smile, her calm demeanor, her courage, her ability to forgive and look for the best in people, her complete honesty and the unconditional love that she showered on us every day of our lives, has stayed with us giving us the strength to go on and to live our lives to the fullest.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death, I remember all the happy times that we spent with her – laughing with her, sharing even the most trivial of stories. She was our repository of confidences. Ammi knew everything because we told her everything. The minute any of us stepped into the house we would go to her and relate all that had happened that day – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. She would listen with such patience and such attention. She shared in the excitement and in the joy and unruffled our feathers when we faced any adversity. Everything we said was of interest to her. We mattered to her – and she made sure we knew that. Is it any wonder then that we grew up knowing that we were loved and cherished? Every memory of Ammi is special to each of us. She dedicated her entire life to us – her family. And we loved her more than we will ever love anyone else.

Many times in life we forget to tell those who are special to us how much we care about them. And much later we live in regret because we didn’t appreciate them when we had a chance. Not so with Ammi. All of us told her every day how much we loved her and how much she meant to us. She knew that she was the center of our existence. She knew that we thought she was the best mother in the world. She knew that our lives revolved around her. She knew that we appreciated everything she did for us throughout our lives. She was an angel from heaven and to heaven she returned. But even now she seems to be watching over us from the heavens – making sure we are happy and looked after.

Thank you Ammi for continuing to be our guide. We love you and miss you and hope that you will always be proud of who we are. You taught us to be warm and affectionate, to be humane and compassionate, to be hardworking, honest and just and to make the most out of life. I hope we will always be the kind of human beings that you wanted us to be. That is our homage to you.

April 1, 2013 at 6:59 am Leave a comment

A day I can’t ignore or forget

I remember a time long long ago, when I was just a little girl,  April 1 was the day we would pull harmless pranks on friends and family. We didn’t know the significance. All we knew was that it gave us an excuse to think up clever tricks to pull on unsuspecting people. Admittedly, as years passed, April Fools’ Day began to lose its appeal and I more or less let the day pass without giving it much thought.

All that changed on April 1, 2003. Something earthshattering happened that changed my world forever. My mother, my wonderful sweet mother whose smile lit up every room she walked into, whose very presence brought a serenity into our lives, into our very existence, left us on April 1 seven years ago.

When I think about how long it has been, it’s hard to believe that 7 years have gone past. It seems like only yesterday that I came home from work to Ammi’s warm and loving smile. It was a norm. I would walk in, peep into her room to see if she was awake. She would be waiting. I would sit down with her and bring her uptodate on the day’s activities – whom I had met, what they’d said or done. She was the repository of all my joys and frustrations, of both the good and bad things that happened to me. She knew all about my friends, my business colleagues, people I met through the course of my day.

She would listen to me chatter on and on smiling indulgently at all the funny bits. She was so proud of every little thing I achieved and she shrugged off every failure as if it didn’t really make a difference to who I was. Ammi made everything seem okay. She was our number one champion. She could see the best in us – and it was her confidence in our abilities that made us strive to put in that extra effort.

We are better human beings because Ammi expected that from us. She could never understand cruelty and meanness of spirit. War, struggle, poverty and illness all worried her and she would always try and figure out how we as individuals could make a small difference to the community in which we lived.

This morning as I placed the orchids that I had brought back from Thailand for her on her grave, I remembered the many times Ammi had smiled at the sight of those lovely flowers. We love you Ammi. We miss you. No day passes that we don’t think of you. You were the best mother in the world and we will always try and live up to your expectations of us.

April 2, 2010 at 12:11 am 5 comments

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