A mother’s love: Kelantanese man shares how mum raised 16 children by herself after dad’s stroke

Tan Mei Zi
Mohd Yazid Ismail’s family was dealt a hard blow when his father suffered a stroke nearly 30 years ago. — Picture from Facebook/Mohd Yazid Ismail

PETALING JAYA, Aug 14 — A mother’s love can be powerful enough to pull a family through the toughest of times.

This was certainly the case for Mohd Yazid Ismail and his 15 siblings.

The businessman from Kota Baru, Kelantan recently wrote about his childhood on Facebook and revealed how his mum raised the family on a meagre sum of RM150 per month after her husband became bedridden.

“My parents have 16 children. Siblings one to 11 are boys and 12 to 16 are all girls.

“Alhamdulillah, although life was difficult, all 16 of us went on to further our studies at university.

“In 1991, when my mum was pregnant with our 16th sibling, dad was hit by a stroke and he became paralysed. We lost our breadwinner.

“We had no savings as we only ever had just enough to feed our bellies. A mosque later stepped in to donate RM150 to us every month,” he wrote.

Mohd Yazid said his mother always put up a strong front and continued to do her best to provide for the family, even in the face of her husband’s deteriorating condition.

The matriarch also held strongly to the principle of not borrowing money to avoid accumulating debt and putting a further strain on their finances.

Eating plain rice with nothing but a little salt and sugar and no side dishes became the norm and Mohd Yazid’s mother often cooked with firewood instead of gas to save a few bucks.

“It’s not that we didn’t have a gas stove but we just wanted to save some money.

 “Whenever the firewood supply ran low, my siblings and I would go into the forest to look for more.

“By that time, we were the only ones in the kampung that continued to use and collect firewood.”

Throughout his entire childhood, Mohd Yazid said his mum was a pillar of strength who never ‘admitted defeat’ while bringing up her kids. — Picture from Facebook/Mohd Yazid Ismail

Mohd Yazid explained that God had “gifted” him and his siblings a sense of independence which encouraged them to seek out odd jobs and make some extra cash.

The children would gather recyclable items such as aluminium cans and bottles to sell and did some farming to help their mum put food on the table.

When the family’s older children started going to university, they were willing to skip a meal or two to send a portion of their scholarship money back home.

Mohd Yazid, who is the 11th child, said he always recalls his younger days whenever he sees someone collecting tin cans and bottles by the roadside.

 “Even though my life is easy now and, alhamdulillah, my business is successful, I will never forget my roots.”

His story was also shared on Facebook by his wife Widyana Ali, who deemed it a “tale of survival” and hoped it would inspire mums who are currently enduring challenging times.

It has garnered more than 3,000 shares and social media users have been praising Mohd Yazid’s mum for her selflessness and sacrifices over the decades.

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