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Dr. Hyder Zahed Headshot

The Healing Power of a Mother's Love

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One day while working-out at the gym, I felt some discomfort in my left arm followed by a sharp pain. The next thing I knew, I was looking up at paramedics in an ambulance and the sound of a siren! I had suffered my first heart attack. I underwent a coronary angiography with stents placed in my arteries. Life is very unpredictable, isn't it?

After returning home from the hospital, I was resolved to redesign my life. The first thought that came to mind was for me to read a small note from my late mother's diary, lovingly sent to me by my sisters. After my mother's passing, my sisters found a small diary among my mother's possessions. While browsing and flipping the pages, they came upon a page where my mother had jotted down her precious thoughts about me. She wrote how much she loved me and the joy and happiness I had brought into her life and how I had been respectful toward her always. The note ended with prayers and blessings for me now and in the afterlife.

My sisters made a photocopy and sent it to me. As I read it, I was deeply touched by the simplicity and sincerity of my mother's words. This note wasn't a reaction to having received a nice gift, a card, or phone call from me. It wasn't intended to impress anyone. These words were her sincere thoughts jotted down during her quiet moments as she mused privately over our relationship as mother and son. It was merely an evanescent acknowledgement passing through her heart, penned onto the pages of her personal diary. I folded it carefully and tucked it away in a special spot so that I could retrieve it during difficult times in my life.

Certainly, coming home from the hospital after a sudden heart attack was one of those difficult and discouraging times in my life. I got out that little folded page and read it in silence. This after all, was my mother's loving legacy to me. Sensing the power of gratitude and love she bequeathed me in her words, I too began to wonder, "What am I leaving behind for my loved ones?"

Parental love, especially a mother's love is unlike any other because no one else can take the place of the one person who spent nine months sharing her body with us, nurturing and protecting us before going through the miracle of birth. It is this unique bond that forms the basis of a mother's love for her child. A love that is unconditional and perpetual, absolute and profound. In a perfect world every human being would experience a love such as this. But this world is not perfect. And those who lack mother's presence physically, emotionally are spiritually wounded as a result.

Erich Fromm once wrote, "Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved." The benefits of a strong attachment with a mother cannot be underestimated. To grow up secure in the knowledge that you are loved because you are you, that you are cared for because you are you, that you are valued because you are you, sets a firm foundation of self-belief and self-worth. Without that affinity, the effects can be devastating.

The private thoughts my mother jotted down in her diary expressing her love for me has become her legacy in my life. I strongly recommend that we all indulge a little time in writing down our thoughts for our loved ones. This will be a tangible affirmation and reminder of our love and affection after we are no longer here. This is the most precious gift; or as in my case the greatest source of strength knowing that I was loved unconditionally!