What will we eat for tonight? How long will the landlord let us stay? What if they evict us? Why hasn't he called? How long will this last? Will the fight reach here? How will we survive? Why hasn't he called? Is this the end? Is this all I can do? Why hasn't he called?

It seemed like a never ending cycle of constant anxiety but she never gave up hope. She constantly worried about the ‘what- ifs’ and often felt helpless and unable to provide fully for her children. She felt inadequate and unworthy because she could not give her children the life she'd promised herself she would. In the midst of the nearly two decade civil war in Somalia, she found herself alone with two young children as her husband fled the country in fear of prosecution. Was he dead or alive? Would she live? What about her children? More questions she could not answer that contributed to her fear and anxiety. However, despite what she was going through, she was determined to shield her children from the constant worry and despair that was her everyday life.

I remember her hand holding mine as we walked beside her. She was beautiful and majestic. She walked with her head held high, with a huge smile on her face which hid the fear and despair. With us in each hand, she taught us to see the beauty in the world and to enjoy the simplest of pleasures. Growing up, I never knew of her worries, I only saw the happiness in her face. My mother embodies courage, strength and beauty and I was blessed to “have come from her pious womb” (Musician, K’naan). She raised my sister and me in a home that, for us, was the happiest home one could ask for; filled with love and happiness. She gave us her life and although I could never pay her back, I will try the best I can. She held us in her safe, warm, loving hands and allowed us to grow and prosper to become strong, dedicated women. I remember her hands holding mine with immense love, a mother’s love.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Holding Hands.

Comment on this Post


I am happy to know the strong relationship between you and your mother. I wish you all the happiness of the world and pray that your relationship grows more strong each day. Mother love is simply unconditional. Never hurt her.No matter what she is the only one who will be near you to support you selflessly.. Love and Peace Pooza

I cannot imagine the anxiety your mother faced as she raised her two children alone in the midst of civil war. Her courage to expose you to the beauty in life is a testament to her strength and spirit. I have no doubt that she will be holding your hand as you continue through life and her strength will become yours over time. Best wishes, Janice

Thank you to both of you. I am thankful for my mother everyday because without her, I don't know who I'd be. Now that we are grown, my sister and I understand the hardship she'd endured to give us everything we had and that is very humbling. Mothers are too often taken for granted and its nice to remember to show gratitude and I am glad you liked my attempt to describe a fraction of her life.

Thank you again,


Dear Hanna,

What a beautiful tribute to your mother - a strong woman who lives within in you too. I am always amazed by the strength of mothers - to shield their children from the reality of pain, to spread the light of love and to bear incredible pain and hardship to allow their children a better life than they may have had. Women hold up society and your mother is a beautiful example of that. Thank you for sharing this story - it moved me deeply.

In friendship, Jade

Hello Jade,

Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I am humbled by my mother's strength and am glad it moved you. I will do my best to convey my experiences and stories as a Somali woman in the U.S. and would love to share it with everyone here.

You painted a beautiful, moving picture of your mother with her daughters. I can see her holding your hands, sacrificing and giving you the safe place within all that turmoil so that you might be strong women. Thank you for sharing, for the images and inspiration your story gives us all.


I am happy that the story I wanted to convey has shown through and I hope it inspires people who read this as much as it has inspired me. Thank you very much!