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… the true Baha'i loves the children, because Jesus says they are of the Kingdom of heaven. A simple pure heart is near to God; a child has no worldly ambitions. - Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 59. That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 250.My mother knew she was dying, but she faced that coming transformation with great joy. About five and half years ago, my mother Mahboobeh first felt that there was an issue with her heart; It turned out that she had a congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Last year, on the day she was packed and ready to travel to Chicago for an annual Baha’i conference, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. None of this made her sad, though. She smiled and remained happy through the hospital stays and the doctor visits. That might seem strange, but she knew, from the Baha'i teachings, that death is a messenger of joy:
O Son of the Supreme! I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom? O Son of Spirit! With the joyful tidings of light I hail thee: rejoice! To the court of holiness I summon thee; abide therein that thou mayest live in peace for evermore. O Son of Spirit! The spirit of holiness beareth unto thee the joyful tidings of reunion; wherefore dost thou grieve? The spirit of power confirmeth thee in His cause; why dost thou veil thyself? The light of His countenance doth lead thee; how canst thou go astray? - Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, pp. 11-12.Here is my mom during one hospital visit a few months ago singing for a few of her grandchildren. She is singing in Turkish and Farsi, but one cannot ignore her joy! Up until the very last day of her life, she had that familiar happy smile on her face. We went for a hike together just a week before she passed into the next world, and I took a photo of her. She knew she was ill; she knew she didn’t have much time left; but the radiance of her smile in that photo testifies to the pure joy in her heart. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Mahboobeh Zamani out for a walk with her son Payam, about a week before her passing. Danville, California[/caption] Even at her advanced age, she still had all of her wonderful qualities—despite the pain and suffering she went through in life, and despite growing up without a father, she was resilient, strong and determined. She had a powerful will and she persevered no matter what, which meant she accomplished whatever she set her mind and heart on. She loved children, and she loved anyone who had struggled in life—as a Baha'i she had a soft spot for any minority, having been a persecuted minority herself. After a long journey, my dear mother passed away on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, surrounded by the abiding love of her husband, children, grandchildren, her daughters in law and other friends and relatives who were present, holding her hands and chanting prayers. A few days later, hundreds of people attended her memorial—a true testimony to the love she gave to others in this material life, and a fitting tribute to her legacy of service:
She rose up into the shadowing mercy of God and was plunged in an ocean of light. Unto her be salutations and praise, compassion and glory. May God make sweet her resting-place with the outpourings of His heavenly mercy … - Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 175.After her passing, we received more than a thousand consoling messages from family, friends and even people we didn’t know—but who knew her. Reading them all, I realized they described the same characteristics and qualities over and over: joyful, resilient, always happy, energetic, determined, selfless, never focused on her pains and always focused on others. Lots of those people who sent us messages expressed shock and surprise that she had died, because many didn’t even know she was sick. Hundreds of those messages fondly remembered her giving nature. She freely gave of her time and energy to those she loved—and to complete strangers, as well. She always had small gifts with her for any child she would run into. She loved gardening and making living things grow. Every day she went out to the garden and said prayers for the healthy growth of her plants, and did so one last time just two days before her passing. She always taught the spiritual principles of the Baha'i Faith in her actions, and stood for justice for others—many villagers in Iran will testify to that. She was a true feminist, who worked shoulder to shoulder with her brethren in the remote places of Iran, and took on tasks few women in those days would dare to take on. She was a constant source of unity for her family, and the best encourager I ever had. Every day she left me loving, encouraging phone messages, all of them about 15 seconds long. She didn’t want anything, but rather just wanted me to know that she loved me and that as a mom she was happy with me. She did not leave behind much in material inheritance, but she certainly added to the happiness of whoever she encountered. Even though the impact may have been slight, there is no question that the world is better off because of the time she spent on this planet. She lived a modest but powerfully spiritual life, despite all of the tests, difficulties and challenges she faced. She was my hero. I hope you will join me and the rest of my family in remembering her and offering prayers for the continual progress of her dear soul. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Funeral of Mahboobeh Zamani June 17, 2017.[/caption]