My Mother’s Apple Jam
I was glad that my mother left behind neither any burdens or bitterness. I strongly believe this was by God’s grace and because of her spiritual life and for being kind, forthright and disciplined.
When they left this world, saints and prophets probably did not leave behind many material things. But of course they left behind a treasury of goodness which people could learn about and benefit from.
Sometimes when I think of some people whom I personally knew and who have passed away, I wonder what they left behind. My mother is on top of my mind most often when I think of this. The first thought that comes to my mind is that she did not leave behind any burdens or bitterness amongst the people who knew her, including myself. This, I believe, could be because of the kind of life she led.
As a humble teacher in a school, she worked hard in order to contribute to the running of the home. Disciplined and polite, she was a straightforward and forthright person who did not wear a mask. I often wondered how she handled situations like an invitation to a wedding or some other such social gathering. She was not into gossiping with friends or relatives. If she felt she could not go for a gathering, she would politely decline the offer to the host in a way that never offended anyone. No excuses or explanations were given by her. She just would say that she could not come. My mother was not a people-pleaser. May be that is one reason people respected her.
Clutter and clatter were not part of her life. Any work she did be it cooking in the kitchen or going out for shopping she did without making a big noise or fuss. I remember her telling me not to fetch any more eggs till the last egg in the fridge was over. She was in charge of the kitchen, which she kept spic and span always. Food and other such things were never hoarded or wasted. She was a super planner and trusted God immensely. If she was asked what there would be for breakfast the next day, she would say “Let the morning arrive first’”!
The most important aspect I adore my mother for was her simple spirituality. She really never liked listening to people lecture about religion or be preachy about it. She did not preach or impose her faith on anyone. Occasionally, she would read the Quran. She was conscious of her prayers and if due to overwork or overload of work she missed a prayer, she would complete it later even if she was very tired.
Always doing things for others and making sure that everybody around her was comfortable, my mother did not make time for herself to relax. Probably the only time she really did get time alone was during her prayers and when she went out shopping she to fetch things for the house. Rarely did she pamper herself by buying clothes and things like that.
My mother’s cupboard was as uncluttered as her mind was. She had very few clothes and did not want to accumulate more. She had just enough for daily wear and for going outside. When she passed away, maybe I found that she had left behind only two pairs of footwear and a single handbag.
My mother never worried about tomorrow about issues like what would happen to her if she fell sick and who would take care of her and all other such fears that many of us often break our heads and sometimes our lives too over.
Hilariously for someone like me who ran to a doctor or reached for a medicine for even a mild fever, my mother kept clear of unnecessary medication. She had body pains didn’t take any medicines for this. She had her own way of patiently dealing with the matter quietly. When she fell sick shortly before she passed away, only when others heavily pressurised her did she go to see a doctor. When I last spoke to her on the phone, she was gasping for breath, but her spirit was so strong that she did not fall into the dreaded trap of the ventilator or life-support system in the hospital. God took her soul peacefully.
Sometimes, people die leaving behind properties which their children start quarrelling over bitterly, or incompletions on various issues which can become a burden for their children or others to sort out. They bequeath a big bundle of burdens and other such baggage.
I was glad that my mother left behind no bitterness. I strongly believe this was by God’s grace. She led a humble, unassuming, uncluttered spiritual life and was a kind, forthright and disciplined person. This, I feel, must have something to do with the fact that she passed away leaving behind no burdens.
A day after my mother left the world, I opened the fridge and found a box of apple jam made by her just a day before she had died. She left behind sweet memories not only for me but also neighbours who speak about her fondly. A neighbour said to me one day, “Did you know that whenever my child cried, your mother would open the door and ask me why the child was crying and asked if she could help out?”
What one may or may not inherit materially from those who have left this world is really not a big issue. But what is of real importance is what, if anything, we can inherit by way of values that they have left behind. In these terms, my mother left behind a great deal for me. My mother’s apple jam which she left behind for is a lesson for me: To live a life in a way that when you die, you leave behind some sweetness, or at least you should depart without leaving any burdens and bitterness!