I posted this appreciation last year and the sentiment remains—my mother is strong and resourceful —she inspires me and I think of her often.

In the Muslim world we have a saying, “Paradise is at the feet of mothers.” What I love about my mother is her sense of humor—she is always cracking jokes. She’s a good storyteller, and whenever I go back home I discover a little more about my own family just by drinking some mint tea with her.

My mom is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.

At the age of 14 and almost illiterate, she married my dad and had four kids. They divorced when she was 23, and my mom lived a dozen years in poverty while she was learning how to survive. She taught herself how to count and write, and even learned the profession of tailoring and embroidery.

She turned down marriage offers from other men, even though they were capable of supporting her financially. Her experience made her a strong and independent woman. And throughout all this, she kept telling jokes and sharing her good sense of humor with others.

One thing I remember about her is that she always keeps a small jar of pure honey stored away, and another jar of Zamzam water from Mecca, the holiest city of Islam. Doctor Mom has always believed that a spoonful of honey can literally save a sick person’s life. The holy water is there to drink or wash a part of your forehead when you’re dying– or think you are! The way I look at it, it’s the best hospice program you can ask for. But I say, if you want to live longer in Morocco, take a spoonful of honey and skip the Zamzam water!