The day after Mohamed Bzeek turned 62 years old, doctors diagnosed him with colon cancer. This time in his life could not have been lonelier, as his wife had recently passed away, and his son was unable to provide support due to his disability. Mohamed found himself without a soul to lean on and in the hospital scared. Unsure if he would even survive, fear consumed him and so did the thought that perhaps he would die completely alone.
Mohamed Bzeek survived his surgery and beat the cancer, already a life-changing success. More so, he was a changed man after conquering fear with no one by his side. He decided he would do everything in his power to ensure the most susceptible of society do not endure what he went through.
Mohamed responded by opening up his home to more than 80 terminally ill children over the years so they feel love instead of fear in their final days. 10 actually died in the loving and caring arms of Mr. Bzeek and in the comfort of his home. No one should ever have to die alone. So, he has brought these scared, discarded children loving peace. In a YouTube video that went viral, Mohamed explained as he held a terminal child in his arms, “There’s many kids, nobody wants to take them because usually the ones that are going to die, nobody wants to deal with death.”
Strength is not only an external identity but also an internal reward resulting from overcoming personal challenges. According to a study on Strength through adversity: Bereaved cancer caregivers’ accounts of rewards and personal growth from caring:
“The participants were able to identify positive and beneficial aspects of caring. These included the discovery of personal strength, through adversity, acceptance, and necessity; the deepening of their relationship with the person for whom they cared; and personal growth through altered relationships with others and altered perspectives on living. Many participants gave accounts of focusing on these positive benefits when they reflected on their caring experiences.
We concluded that benefit finding in the face of adverse events serves an important function in allowing individuals to incorporate difficult experiences into their worldview in a meaningful way, thus maintaining positive beliefs about the world. This has implications for the development of interventions for informal cancer carers and for those who are bereaved following caring.”
Mohamed Bzeek’s strength is embracing children without families or parents and not only caring for their ailing bodies but also providing them with love.
I am nowhere on the same plane as Mr. Bzeek, but I know firsthand the power in caring for others. Over a decade ago during my undergraduate years, I worked in a group home for at-risk youth. Many of the children had disabilities that resulted in severe behavior problems. There was nothing glamorous about the job, and to this day, it remains the hardest thing I have ever done.
It provided a great deal of personal satisfaction knowing that I was making a difference in these children’s lives. And I proved to myself that I was mentally as well as physically stronger than I ever imagined.
The greatest gift we can give each other is love, which can come in many forms. The greatest of these is caring for those who are unable to care for themselves. In this duty, we find strength.
My Gratitude List: Participating Bloggers
Finally, I’d like to thank the following bloggers for sharing their personal stories on strength. Feel free to read their posts.
The Bottom Line
I hope you had a fabulous 4th of July and you were able to share it with the ones you love. Many people in the world, like dying children Mohamed Bzeek, welcomes into his home and the many group home children I once worked with, do not have close loved ones to share in celebratory holidays or to even hold their hand in death. So, it is a blessing to spend quality time with those that love us.
Find strength in the enduring love and compassion for others.