A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?"The Prophet said, "Your father."
When we were young, our parents gave not only their love, but their tireless efforts to raise, nurture and care for us. They (especially our mothers) spent sleepless night caring for us when we were sick or simply scared of the dark. Our fathers spent the best years of their lives working hard, struggling, making sacrifices so that we could live comfortably and have everything we need to succeed in this life and the hereafter often forgetting to take care of themselves. Allah (swt) says, 31:14 “And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [hence, O man,] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end.
As we get older and they get even older, the roles must change, it is we who should care for our parents. But sadly, many adult children often forget the hardships their parents went through and instead of caring for their parents when they become old, they stick them in homes for the elderly. Some are left to live on their own without hearing from their busy, career-minded kids. But even after all they have done for us, how many actually complain when left in nursing homes or on their own. Even after all they have given us, they still want what is good for their children, most will prefer to stay in nursing homes so as not to be a burden on their children.
My mom used to always say, "I don't want to be a burden on you when I get old, from today, you have my permission to put me in an elderly/nursing home. I want you to be able to live your life." I used to cringe every time she said it. How could I, as a believer, abandon her like that, it was unthinkable. The thought of her being sick or dying alone without her children by her side was appalling. When the time came and she became ill, everything in my life was put on hold. She came first. Sleepless nights were long over due. I can remember her falling asleep holding my hand and every once in a while I could feel her squeeze my hand to see if I was still there. As she was there for my first breath, Alhamdulillah, I was blessed to be with her for her last.
Our parents are a mercy from Allah (swt) as we are a mercy to our parents from Him. I can't imagine how my life would have been without my mom always being by my side. I was blessed to have been able to be by her side on her final journey to Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) reward her for all that she did for me, my family and every soul (needy or not) who crossed her path. May He cover her with His shade of Mercy and Jannah. Ameen
Something to remember from the Qur'an and the Sunnah:
17:23 for thy Sustainer has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [thy] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in thy care, never say "Ugh" to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech.
Narrated Anas bin Malik
The Prophet said, "The biggest of Al-Kaba'ir (the great sins) are (1) to join others as partners in worship with Allah, (2) to murder a human being, (3) to be undutiful to one's parents (4) and to make a false statement," or said, "to give a false witness."
Love your parents, be kind to them, care for them. One day they will return to Allah (swt), spend as much time with them as possible. May Allah (swt) bless all our mothers and fathers.