Munira Premji

When I was a little girl, I would sneak into my parents’ bed every morning and cuddle cuddle with my Mum before starting the day. And though I may be all grown up — and their queen-sized bed was not made for 3 adults — I still find every opportunity possible to cuddle with my Mum whenever I’m home. We are self-acclaimed cuddling superstars.

But yesterday, our cuddling was different. I held my Mum in a bed at Toronto General Hospital as she shook from an intense fever. I cradled her in my arms as tightly as possible and rubbed my arms against her back, her legs, kissed her head, anything to make her chills go away.

As I held her, I thought about one of our favourite childhood books, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Story goes a mother spent her entire life looking after her son. Whether he was a teething 2-year old, a hormone-driven teenager, or a grown man, she would sneak into his bedroom at night, cradle him in her arms and sing: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”. And this went on for years and years, until one day she had become too old and frail. And so, the boy held his mother in his arms and sang to her: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.”

My Mum has held me through everything – more times than I can say here. But yesterday, it was my turn to hold her, to keep her warm, to keep her safe, to tell her everything would be okay. It’s tough. Seeing someone you love more than life itself suffer – and feeling like the only thing you can do is hold her for dear life, praying her cancers will go away.

When her fever finally broke, and she kicked off the 5 blankets on her, she immediately snapped into Mom-mode and asked me about my dinner date, and coached me through my work, and talked to me about the importance of leaving a legacy. I have seen these cancers make my Mum incredibly weak and vulnerable; I have held her hand as they stripped her of her hair; I have watched the pounds fall off of her. But what they haven’t done is touched her spirit, the stuff that makes her who she is. If anything, these cancers have made her even stronger, even more certain, even more beautiful.

As I sit here at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam waiting to board a flight to Nairobi, Kenya to finish up some work deliverables, my heart aches to be with my Mum. I am counting down the days until I can hold her again and sing to her, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.”

– Sabrina


  • stellah , July 24, 2013

    Wow… Sabrina what a lovely words for a lovely mom! u r such a lovely lady and caring to her mom. May God bless u all.

  • Anonymous , May 21, 2012

    Dear Sabrina,I do not know you & only know your Mum as she & my Husband Moyez Kamani were Scotiabankers .
    But I just wanted to share with you that ,This book is,was & will always remain my all time favorite
    I always include a copy to all Baby Shower/Baby gifts..
    Remember Angels come down to earth in the form of Babies & if the tables turn for whatever reasons,than I believe in that moment they become Angels too.
    So my dear your MUM is an angel!!!
    May Mowla carry your whole family through this Passage so that your Mum will read this book to her Grand kids,as I do now..
    Naz Kamani.

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      Naz, I do hope she will read this book to her grandkids – she is a fabulous storyteller. So long as those grandkids come from Shayne and not me! I do not foresee kids for a very long time! -Sabrina

  • The British family , April 21, 2012

    Simply beautiful Sabrina..sending you and family lots of love and all our prayers!

    Have a safe trip!
    Warm wishes
    British family

  • mylegacytoyou , April 20, 2012

    Dear Sabrina,
    I cried my eyes out reading your words… these precious memories will go with you and keep you safe even in the coldest places on earth.
    Sending all my best to you.

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      Oh no, I’m so sorry I made you cry! I feel so grateful to you Deva for all the support you provided my Mum when she was first diagnosed and I was still in Kenya. You are a gem. -Sabrina

  • Aalia Chatur , April 19, 2012

    Beautiful. You, your mom, the way you captured that moment.
    Sending so much love to your family,

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      Thanks so much. Miss you, Aalia! Hope Dar is treating you brilliantly well. -Sabrina

  • Anonymous , April 19, 2012

    Incredibly moving and beautiful sentiment Sabrina

  • Rashida Kanji , April 19, 2012

    Hello Sabrina

    Very beautifully expressed! Thanks for sharing those moments with your Mom. Treasure every precious moments with her. Safe travels Sabrina.
    Sending warm hugs to everyone at home.
    Love & specila special prayers. Today is the last day of Jamati Satado. We all pray Mowla mareji Badhi Mushkil asaan kare.amen!


  • Tazim Ahamed , April 18, 2012

    It’s this beautiful love and bond that you have with your Mom that’s going to get her through this difficult journey. Lots of prayers and love her way..

  • Karim Dayani , April 18, 2012

    Hi Sabrina
    Very well expressed feelings as you always have. Hope your mom is back home and feeling better. Our good wishes, lots of prayers and love for you all. Dayani’s

  • Vanessa , April 18, 2012

    Beautifully expressed, Sabrina. Although I have only had the privelege to meet you once, the strong and beautiful bond between you and your mom was very touching.

    This was a favourite book to read to my daughters when they were young but the “song” always made my throat tighten and the tears to well up. I was fortunate enough to hear Robert Munsch read it aloud and he actually sang the song. Once I had the tune, I could get through the book without weeping each time. When I started to travel for work I recorded myself reading it so they could still have their bedtime story when I was away. We still have the tape 10 years later. My children did not understand at the time why this book evoked such a strong emotional reaction for me but that realization comes for each of us as our parent-child relationships mature and evolve. I’m sure this book will be as special to them when they have their own children.

    I think of Munira and your family often, follow your family blog, and wear my prayer beads every day. Have a safe trip and big hugs to Munira.

    Vanessa (from SP)

  • amusednurse , April 18, 2012

    That’s really touching, thanks for sharing that with us. You are lucky to share moments like that with her, i know it sounds ridiculous but some people are not so fortunate to appreciate others until they’ve lost them. Or we get so busy in our lives, we forget to say a kind word to our loved ones, or let them know how much we appreciate or love them.
    You are supportive, kind and loving….that’s the best medicine anyone can give. I really wish for the best for all of you.
    Prayers and thoughts are with all of you,

    Shenaz Dhanani

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      You’re right, Shenaz. It’s unfortunate that sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives, we forget about the people who make our life worth living. Your message is a brilliant reminder to appreciate those special people around us. -Sabrina

  • Nazline Lourenço Lakhany Lausanne Switzerland , April 18, 2012

    Dear Sabrina,
    Although I haven’t met you its as if i know you, and to have the priviledge to know your lovely mum I can imagine how you are and what you must be feeling being far at the moment…. but be strong, your love and holdings her near you heart when you can, you smile helps Munira to fight and my prayers are with you and her. So keep faith and have a safe trip back when you finish your work in Nairobi. Munira is lucky to have such a loving family but you also what a lovely, caring and adorable mum you have. When I come to Canada in August I really hope to meet you and see Munira. Her CD of tasbih and ginans are such a gift to listen and remember her. She is in our thoughts and prayers and mowla will listen and help her to fight and get better. I have never read the book but will make a point to buy it and read it. All the best and keep your salwats on they will help you and come back soon to hug Munira.
    Warm and sincere regards. A big hug to Munira from me when you come back
    Nazline from Switzerland

  • Saira Nasirdin , April 18, 2012


    while you are on your trip to Nairobi, Mowla will be watching over her. I dont even know you and I am so proud of you beta! inshallah everything will get better, just hang in there. Our salwats are ongoing for your mum.

  • shyroseh , April 18, 2012

    Hello Sabrina, I am going to take some liberty with this Irish saying (hoping the Irish will forgive me for it):
    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until you and your mum are in each other’s arms again,
    May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

    Big hug with lots of love,
    p.s counting the days until you come home again 🙂

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      I’m home now! Let’s get together over some of your infamous carrot cake! -Sabrina

  • Jo Anne Langshaw , April 18, 2012

    Sabrina – my absolute favorite book too – and I used to sneak into my kids’ rooms every night for a hug and a cuddle – you’ve reminded me that I shouldn’t have stopped. Hope Munira is back home by now – stay strong!

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      Jo, every kid (…even teenaged boys) enjoy a cuddle from their mom! -Sabrina

  • Dilshad Nathoo , April 18, 2012

    Absolutely beautifully articulated, Sabrina, as always. That is my utmost favourite book I used to read to my girls when they were little. Everytime I read it, no fail, I shed a tear. Your mom is a very lucky woman to have raised such a compassionate, loving and caring daughter as yourself. And you are very lucky to have such a wonderful, strong spirited and beautiful woman like your mom!!!
    Safe travels Sabrina. In the meantime all our prayers are cuddling her until you come back home to cuddle with her yourself.

    Lots of love to you, your mom, Shayne and your dad,

    • Sabrina Natasha Premji , May 30, 2012

      Dilshad, thanks for your kind words. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have my Mum as my Mommy! -Sabrina

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