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THE DAY MAMA DIED
By Tara Umm Omar
Copyright © November 29, 2006
I wrote this to help me cope with the death my nonMuslim mother. It is my fervent hope that both nonMuslim and Muslim readers will endeavor to strengthen the bond they alread
have with their mothers. Or if they have a bad relationship, they should strive to initiate a reconciliation with them before it’s too late. Dear Readers, please do so today because you
may not have the chance tomorrow.
I returned to Missouri from Bahrain with my infant son, Omar, in December 2004. It had been two years since I saw my family. When I first saw my mother at the airport, I was
shocked because she looked older than her 54 years. I didn’t know then that she was so sick and she hid the nature of her illness from my sister and me very well.
I intended to stay with my mother and sister until I got a visa to join my husband in Saudi Arabia. Their apartment was small and we didn’t have a lot of money but we were happy to
Since I was breastfeeding Omar, I chose not to work and my mother couldn’t work due to a brain tumor. We were able to spend a lot of time together. Our relationship had its ups a
downs. Most of our disagreements came from discussing Islam. If we had a argument, we didn’t stay mad at each other for long.
After a year, I noticed my mother was disoriented and sometimes her speech was unintelligible. She kept losing her balance and dropping things. She always had a bad cough,
congestion and nosebleeds. She was vomiting, spitting up blood and her body swelled from her feet to her stomach. My mother stopped taking care of her hair and hygiene which
was unusual for her. I could feel that my mother was dying and I confided this to my sister who agreed. We wanted to talk to her doctors about her deteriorating health but didn’t
think they would divulge medical information because of patient confidentiality.
When I received my visa to Saudi Arabia, I was torn between going back to my husband and staying with my ailing mother. I didn’t want to be selfish but I also didn’t want to lose
this opportunity after praying on it for four years.
The day before I left the United States, my sister advised me to say my last goodbye to my mother. She didn’t need to explain why. However I was optimistic that my mother would
overcome her illness. My mother deceived me with her forbearance and strong composure. She gave me the false impression that she would survive long enough for me to see
Shortly after I arrived in Saudi Arabia, my mother’s health worsened. We discovered that she had Hepatitis C, internal bleeding, an ulcer on her tongue, and a leg movement
I wrote my mother a letter while she was in the hospital:
On a cold day in January you were blessed to be the mother of a baby girl named Tara. Four years later it was discovered that she was hearing impaired. This didn’t make you
love her any less and you dedicated your life to helping her hear. She was able to attend regular schools and graduated from university. This wouldn’t have been possible without
Allah and then you. Your caring and sacrifice is still remembered to this day. I’ll be forever grateful to you for the woman I became.
A good friend of mine thanked you for raising such a special person like me. I could only hope that I do as good a job with Omar as you did with me. It was the mercy of Allah that
you and Omar got to know each other for almost two years. I appreciated it when you watched him for me although you didn’t always feel like it. I did benefit from the unending
advice you gave me on his upbringing even when I thought I knew better as his mother.
When I was in Bahrain I used to wish I could hug you and it was fulfilled. I’m wishing the same wish again in Saudi Arabia. I don’t know what the future holds but I wish it would find
me hugging you again, Allah willing.
I want you to know that I’m sorry if I ever hurt or offended you. I need to know that you accept my apology and forgive me.
Nafel, Omar and I love you very much. May Allah cure you ameen.
My mother said she forgave me even though there was nothing to forgive.
On 27th of October 2006, I received a text message from my sister that my mother might not make it past the night. I got on Yahoo messenger as soon as I could and my sister
described for me what was happening. My mother’s saturation levels were dropping and she was struggling to breathe. Her liver stopped functioning and she had pneumonia. My
hands were shaking as I instructed my sister to tell our mother I loved her but my sister said she wasn’t aware that anyone was there. I asked my sister to hold my mother’s hand
for me, to smooth her hair and give her a kiss. She readily complied and I felt a deep sadness that I couldn’t do it.
I prayed for my mother, crying and begging Allah to forgive her and bestow His mercy on her. When my sister told me that our mother was gone, I replied, “From Allah we come
and to Him we return.”
Dealing with my mother’s death was hard in the beginning. I worried about her and prayed to Allah for a sign that she was ok. Thereafter tranquility descended upon me and it
became easier to accept her passing.
Reading the last letter she wrote to me and seeing her handwriting helps with the healing process:
Our dearest Tara, as you came in, you are leaving out. May the Grace of God watch over you and my grandson. We thank you for coming to visit. We will always see and hear you.
We love ya’ll very dearly. Thank you for your help and giving. May God take you and Omar in safety. We will see you again soon. “Love Mama”
This is how I wish I could have replied to her letter:
Thank you for giving birth to me and taking care of me all of those years. What I gave to you and helped you with could never add up to what you did for me. I just left out of
Missouri and you left out of this world but not out of my heart. I see you in me whenever I look at myself in the mirror. In my mind I hear your voice and laughter. The prayer of a
parent for a child is always granted, we arrived unharmed in Saudi Arabia. My prayer for you…
May Allah let me see you again in Paradise ameen.