Saturday, November 01, 2008

Margaret Ann L. Al-Jamal

Some people call her Margaret Ann, others Maggie or Annie, and some call her Meg. I like to call her mom. Other than the reason that she gave birth to me, this is one person I owe a lot to. I'm thankful for her, because she is one tough cookie and has never ever given up.

My mother is the youngest of five kids. She was a surprise baby. The sibling right before her was around nine years her senior. Because she was the youngest, she spent quite sometime being the "only" child at home. She grew up on a farm in rural Louisiana and boy did she ever have responsibilities. I'm pretty sure that she had to get up at the crack of dawn to milk those cows!

When she was 17 she lost her oldest and closest sibling to a fatal accident. Because her parents were so heart broken, she was given the responsibility to notify all of her siblings along with her dear brothers wife and children who were on vacation at the time. I really can't imagine having the guts to do it. I would have asked someone else to take that responsibility.

At the age of 21 she had a prompting to go home for fathers day and spend it with her parents. She told me that they had a fantastic dinner and they enjoyed their time together. When it was time to get ready for bed, her father had a massive heart attack and died while she tried to save him. He died in her arms while she pleaded him not to.

The following year my mom had it pretty hard. She searched and searched for the meaning of life and to better understand her trials. Her roommate was LDS and invited her to come along to a fireside. Some months later she joined the church and never looked back.

When my parents were married, she committed to move to the Middle East and raise her family there. While she was there she went to hell and back, literally. She had several miscarriages and even lost a child. A child that she was not allowed to attend his funeral. She never had the closure she needed. I know it must have been devastating and there were probably really really dark days but she never lost her faith.

Time and time again she was asked to leave her faith. Time and time again she said no. She knew that she could never denounce her faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. She could never put her back to the one thing that kept her going. I'm pretty sure that it broke her heart that she was never allowed to share the gospel with her children. Oh but she did! She did through her example. She was honest and loving in all her doings. She exemplified the Savior more than anyone I know.

My mother had hope that one day her children would accept the gospel into their lives. That blessed day came on a hot summer afternoon in 1996. It was a dream come true for her. Since then, she has witnessed her oldest being married in the temple, has gone through the temple with two of her children and has a son that she faithfuly supports while he is on his mission. What glorious blessings she has received because she never gave up nor lost her faith!

I'm thankful for the example that she has set for me and I'm so proud to call her my mother.

P.S. The first day of my new veggie diet went really well. I was tempted when I was out and about but stuck to the plan.

4 Grass Lovers:

Diana said...

I am a grasslover!
and I like this post! You're mom has had a tremondous life. So was she not able to share the gospel with you, because you were in the middle east, you mean? Also, why was she determined to raise you there?

Good Job on pushing away the meaty temptations.

Layla said...

She promised my dad that if he married her, she would allow the children to be raised in the ME and also as Muslims. Love makes you make some serious commitments I guess.

Sonja said...

What a beautiful tribute to such an incredible woman! I'm so glad you wrote this, Layla. I miss your mom.

I miss you too!

Nancy Heiss said...

Your mom is so cool! I hope I can get to know her better! You're lucky to have her!