KUHF-Houston Public Radio's "This I Believe" with Dr. Nizam Meah
May 8, 2009
by: Paul Pendergraft
Dr. Meah is a physician practicing in Pearland and Lake Jackson, but his life began in Bangladesh. Nizam and his 9 brothers and sisters learned all about life from their mother and father, who scratched out a meager living for the large family. Dr. Meah now has four children of his own and he appreciates the sacrifices his mother made, now more than ever. He pays tribute to his mother in his essay for KUHF's This I Believe.
Dr. Meah's interest in the United States began when he was just a boy in Bangladesh. In his 7th grade English text class, they studied Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the ideals expressed in that document piqued an interest in young Nizam. He idealized the possibilities and as he grew older, he knew he would some how immigrate to the land of Lincoln. After he graduated from medical school, he came to U.T.M.B. Galveston with a scholarship program where he trained. He also trained in Detroit, but Nizam says it was too cold, so he came back to the Houston area because it felt more like home.
Dr. Meah is a gastroenterologist in private practice in Pearland and Lake Jackson. He is married to the woman who "makes everything possible" and together they have four children...two girls and two boys. Dr. Meah says he is "the embodiment of the American dream."
Here's Nizam Meah with his essay for KUHF's This I Believe.
"I believe sometimes family members make the ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of their family and in my case, it was my mother.
My mother was an elementary school teacher in Bangladesh with 9 children. In addition to occasionally battling physical abuse from my father, she fought daily with her chronic asthma and the shortness of breath. Despite this, her ambitions for her family were as high as the Himalayas and her determination was as strong as a bull.
At the end of a full day teaching students in school, she would come home for her second shift to educate her own children. We all sat around a large table to study near her kitchen while she was cooking for the family. Till today, I do not know what really inspired her. But the result of her hard work is obvious: of her nine children, she produced 5 medical and dental doctors, 2 engineers, 1 teacher and 1 business major...but, at what cost? The cost was her own life, her ultimate sacrifice. She died at 53, never to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
I remember one day when I was a boy, I found a large dead spider, her exterior shell still intact but hollow from inside! The empty shell crumbled at my touch. Her empty egg-case was nearby. I asked my mother what had happened to the spider. My mother explained that when her baby spiders were born, they were very hungry. So the mother spider offered herself to be the first food so her children could survive. They ate her leaving only the hollow fragile shell. "That's very sad, mom" I said. "But the mother is happy to do that son," my mother replied.
Only now I realize what my mother meant. Mother, I believe in you! Without you, your children would have been lost. You nourished me physically and you nourished my soul with your knowledge and spirit. Mother you are the air that I breathe in."
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