Letter to my late mother

By Sami Ha Zen

To the girl who grew up to become my mother and captured my heart with mischief,

Today was the last night I heard the sound of your voice, the last night you spoke to me in person, the last night you touched my hand, the last night I got to speak to you.

It was the last of many things that night, my head has not known caressing since, my tears have found way to nobody’s heart, what I eat does not matter and my mistakes are not lovingly rectified anymore. 

When I think of you, I struggle to realize that you were the love of my life, that you had once held my heart and me, caressed my face and always let me kiss you goodnight. 

I miss getting to say my salam to you at night right before you turned off the lights, I miss our afternoon tea sessions and the way you watched the children play. I miss being told Sahabah’s (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) followers of his time) stories when I am sad, I miss being told Allah is by me and I must keep faith, I miss being reminded that nothing is difficult for Him.

I miss how you always advocated moving forward, I miss how courageous I felt if I had you by my side. I miss how you never got angry if I missed my homework, but instead taught me duas that will come to my help if the teacher got to know.

Most of all, I miss being funny with you, it was always so easy to make you laugh. Even in the height of your pain, you’d find it in your heart to smile at the things I say. Holding my hand seemed to ease your pain, I miss being enough for another human soul. You were the most beautiful person I knew, and you still continue to be.

The love you have given me has taught me to be more loving and giving, I pray I am doing right by you. I remember many of your lessons but I am afraid I have forgotten many. You have captured my soul in ways I never imagined possible, my dear mother, please rest in peace.

With prayers and love,

Your last born

P.S: You are missed and loved but your strength lives through me. SalamAlaykum Habeebti ❤️

My little sister had posted this letter on Facebook on our mother’s second death anniversary last month and it left me wondering.

To me, mum was a totally different experience. I was the second-born to a young woman who was then trying to figure out life in the desert. Her naive and childish nature was yet to mature to start enjoying life. We had exactly 13 years together. When I had started my teenage tantrums, it was hard for her to handle me and I was packed off to a boarding school. She was polishing her parenting skills and working on her relationship with me. I was never her ideal child and the disappointment never left her.

Stubborn-headed and the extrovert I am, she never liked me being a journalist. She wanted me to get into creative writing and probably win, at least a Booker Prize.

Yes, laurels were important to her and she always questioned my aversion to it. The more she told me that being competitive and recognised is important, the more silent I became in my career.

She never liked my ways, but she definitely believed in the truth I carried all along in life. I was always scared to hug or even touch her and it’s hard to believe she was a different person to my sister, 12 years down the lane.

The last thing she asked me to do was to spearhead a calligraphy class at her school for international exchange students. She gave me a box of chocolates at the end of the workshop. I saw her beaming with excitement as she introduced me to her colleagues. She was on her third chemotherapy session the next day. Still then, little did I or she know that it was time to part.

We were more professional buddies, than mother and daughter. I often corrected her letters, wrote applications, helped with her research. Both of us hardly talked about our personal lives. I envy my sister because she got the mother I wanted.

It’s hard to say I miss her. Maybe, if she was around, we would have bonded better, maybe not!


Sami Ha Zen is a dreamer by profession, environmentalist by nature. Her introvert character is a direct reflection of her humour and intelligence.

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