It is November and Thanksgiving is in the air and in our hearts. In particular, I am feeling extra thankful in an unexpected way. I just finished the manuscript of my 5th book: “Leadership for the Greater Good: A Guide for Truth to Power Champions” which I dedicated to my mother Remy Khamisa who passed two years ago on April 28th, 2017. I wanted to honor her by creating an everlasting tribute to her selfless life of service and love. A mother is probably the most important person in one’s life. They give us birth and, ideally, nurture us and stand by our side through the thick and thin of life. In many ways, although this book was in my head for a couple of years, it finally came to the forefront after my mother passed. I started writing the book in beautiful Maui a few months later.
I learned many important lessons from my mother over the years; she was always the rock of my life. Having lost my elder sister, then my father, and then my only son, I thought I would do well with the passing of my Mother. Not so! This has been very hard, as she was my foundation and I lost that firm footing in her passing. It has been two and a half years, but I still miss her sorely. Mum was devoutly spiritual and went to the mosque twice a day, never missing a day in her life. Sufis meditate from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. (a practice I have continued since I learned meditation at age 20 from one of Mum’s spiritual teachers), and she always got to the mosque at 3:00 a.m. to make tea and coffee and provide snacks for the earlier worshipers.
She was a strong woman of faith, an accomplished leader, and a consummate social worker that worked restlessly to positively impact the lives of many, especially the poor, the less fortunate and refugee families – many who had no sustenance and did not speak the language. I remember teasing her by saying, “Mama, you take better care of our community kids than your own, but I am not complaining – I am very proud of you.” I think my commitment to serve and my willpower comes from her. I was amazed at the commitment she made to serve her community and her family, and that never faltered. She also was a very positive person. I remember that whenever I had a hard hit or was bruised or injured, her attitude was, “Everything happens for the best and it could have been a lot worse. So, God saved you from a much larger hit or catastrophe by subjecting you to a minor fender-bender.”
I often went to her for advice, solace, and perspective. I am so blessed to have been born to her, as she has been the main architect of shaping my values, morals, and the work I do today in society. As we approach Thanksgiving Day, she is at the forefront of my heart, soul, thoughts, and prayers with reverent everlasting gratitude. Mama, you are very loved by many and sorely missed, and I hope that this book dedication will be received by you in heaven.
Peace and many blessings,