On Sunday night, July 5, 2020, my beloved mother, Lydia, passed away and returned to her Lord Most High. As she stayed a while with her family, surrounded by her dearest children before she departed this world, our love for her grew deeper still. We will always remember her pretty smile that is even more beautiful now in memory of her than it has ever been before. Because she has given this special gift of life to me and my brothers and sisters, there is nothing in this world that will make me wait until tomorrow to continue to pray for her blessed soul that has gone to rest.
It is one of the happiest feelings to live to see your parents live such a golden and beautiful life and reach the age of 95 years old. Not that anyone’s parent has some kind of chosen mission in bringing children into this world. But they were entrusted to us until an appointed time. And that duty entrusted to us to be good to our parents, especially when they have reached an old age, is one of the most blessed duties of every man and woman. We rush to tell them we love them and to take advantage of every opportunity we get to see their beautiful faces. We must not wait until tomorrow, for tomorrow is never guaranteed.
My mother’s life was an encyclopedia of rich Belizean family lineage and heritage that has led me to take a certain interest in why she was this loving personality that bore me. She was my best school for family values, which I learned from her even before my embracing a faith that has made me understand more now all the things that she taught me since I was a boy. On the first day of my conversion to Islam, she woke me up before dawn for the first prayer of the day, knowing very well that she would always tell her friends back in Belize that because of my sleeping so much as a baby, my godmother said she barely could see my eyes.
It was the kind gesture of a mother who, rather than disapproving of my choice in faith after being raised in a Christian household, did not fail in the least in keeping her promise to gently shake me in the bed so that I could get up for the dawn prayer. Even now, she holds a blessed place in my heart for such an empowering act of kindness to a child she guarded with her life, as she did all her children. To this day, her warm words of peace which she uttered to get me up still linger within my mind whenever the caller to the Muslim prayer is heard blaring from the minarets of mosques carried by the message in the wind. Being that she was an early riser challenged by motherhood and the call of duty from a world of work, she had always instilled in me obedience to a higher calling.
The fear of losing one’s mother had burned in me like a raging fire. The times of quiet supplication, in which I constantly begged for more time to spend with her, were answered so graciously by a loving Supreme who has been merciful to a slave who obeyed by showing kindness to a parent. My gratitude for His giving me more time with my mother and my mother more time with me, is a thankfulness for one of the greatest gifts received. As the time goes by and the hour of decision nears between parent and child, my heart saddens thinking about our final moments of laughter. That final day came — time to say goodbye, and our laughter and moments together will be so missed.
The activist life my restless soul lived for many years now has always been shared with my Lydia, who had never grown too old to still scold me about what she had approved of and what she didn’t. These kinds of Belizean women came from a culture in which they knew their places in Belizean society. My father, the minister of exterior, was the protector of the home as he should have been, and my mother willingly supported his social life by making sure that the home was protected within as the minister of interior.
They paired up as housewife and breadwinner to assist in building a Belizean society that is slowly slipping away as these kinds of Belizean family values get threatened from within and without. So whenever she looked me straight in the eyes and spoke out, even at 95 years old, there was a certain urgency in me to listen and obey. Obedience to these kinds of mothers will come as though the man in you is still 10 years old.
Lydia, oh my beautiful Lydia, my heart has been broken and my soul hurts with spiritual pain. There will always be a special place in my heart to honor you. This is my final tribute to you until we laugh again in happiness, God willing, in the hereafter. We never dreamed that you would leave in summer, but we know that you could not stay any longer. Farewell, my beloved mother.