My Mother - Amtul Hafeez Begum


September 11 2000 is the day my mother passed away after fighting cancer for 4 years. I have never known anyone more gentle & kind than her. I have seen her in pain, but never once did I see her complain. Her patience was remarkable. Now that I'm older and understand certain things, I see that there aren’t many people like her in this world.

My brother Tanweer Sabir from UK recalls his memories, Ami, as he used to call her with effection, writes, "I have known her for her gentleness and kindness for her family and also for others. A very very brave women she was indeed. The way she fought cancer till the depart, with strong will and faith in Alllah. She knew all along what was going to happen, always encouraged her children to pray for her. I remember her, always smiling and prayers on her lips for us. I deeply miss those prayers, kindness and affection." 

She helped so many without hurting their dignity, would send them money via me or herself and always advised me not to tell anyone about it. She would ring up everyone in the famiy just to ask how they were doing. She had a diary with fone numbers.

My brother writes "I always admired Ami, how she handled herself. She was very kind to everyone, all the member in the family till today, whenever speak about her, praise her." He then recalls how everyone in our family, young or older, wanted to come to our house  (Kothee) as it was called. He remembers how the relatives would want to come over and discuss their problems with her "Aapa Hafeeza" they called her and how the young ones would say "Mami/Tayi Ama/Aunty is the best". They would make plans to come over in summer saying "Wahan Maza Ata hay" we have the most fun there. It was because in her company they found happiness relief & felt relaxed.

She loved reading and learning, her major time spent was with the Al-fazal and then she had books with Dua's. At any moment if she was free, there was dua on her lips. When I was a child with my head on her arm, we would go through all the duas before sleeping.

Since my elder bothers and sister were abroad, she would write letters filled with advice and prayers. My brother writes "she always prayed for our health, safety and security and that we would always be together."

There was something majestic about her persona, everyone that meet her would be in awe. Everything about her was measured and precise. My brother writes "She had such a beautiful personality, when I look back in my mind, I find that whoever meet her wanted to meet her again, to be with her."

My sister Lubna Aftab who resides in Australia, writes, she was an exceptional person, "Majestic" is the word that truly defines her. She was very creative & fond of learning. She had a knack for picking up skills. She used to knit. I remember she had a sampler roll of knitting designs, every time she saw a new design that she liked she would just look at it, count a few rows, do some mental calculations and copy the design.

Grape Vines with crochet
She recalls an incident when they were in Saudi Arabia, "I must have been around 15 years old at that time, my Daddy jan's relatives came for a visit. The Aunty was wearing a knitted shawl. Ami jan liked the design so much that as soon as they left she quickly got her sampler roll out and copied the design. The very next day she got some wool & started to crochet the shawl for me. I think she finished it in about a day or two. She kept that shawl to give to me when I go married. I still have the shawl and wear it on special occasions".

Like everything else about her, her cooking was exceptional, I would come back from school and sit in the kitchen, she would make me fresh rotis as I ate. I still remember the Lassi that would always be in the fridge in summer in my special mug. That lunch packed in tin foil in my school bag, which I would eat even before the lunch break while hiding from the teacher.

What I miss the most is our talks, she was my friend & made me feel that I could share anything with her, useless computer stuff, she listened, I never heard her abuse or talk behind anyone’s back even to those who gave her grief, she always meet them with a smile and welcomed them.

In early April 2000 doctor told us that she had very little time left. I was married in late April. she would worry about my future. She gave me advice about married life, and told me always respect the loved ones of your wife and be respectful to your wife and even the kids. I don't remember her ever hitting me. She always explained things to me instead of giving edicts that I had to follow no matter what, she called on you to decide the right thing.

A week before her death she called me & wife and told us that her time was near & gave us advice on how to deal with guests who would come on her death, it was surreal, but her calmness is something I have never seen. She told me to take care of everyone & if any family member wanted to have something of hers, I should let them have it. 

She was content at Allah’s wish and died in my hands. Ina lilah wa ina lilah rajon.

So many memories that I want to save, for my children, for everyone. Will write more.
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