Posted by: smilecoach | September 6, 2007

A Birthday to Remember

Last week I had the privilege of celebrating the start of another marvelous year on this earth.  In addition to celebrating my mother’s creation last week , I was informed on my birthday of  the passing of a wonderful friend, Zaniab Ali.  Today rather than grieve, I intend to celebrate the gift that was called Zaniab. 


I first met Zaniab at a retreat I did at Pawley’s Island 6 years ago.  She was a powerful woman who had the presence to fill whatever space she was in.  When she would smile, I could see something in her eyes that said, “ I know something about life that most people don’t get. “   Every time she participated in one of my classes, I could  count on Zaniab to ask the penetrating questions that others were unwilling to ask.  She was a person with whom I connected on a very deep level almost from the instant we meet.  One of the things I will miss the most about Zaniab is her hugs.  When she hugged me, I could feel the love flowing from her. There was a sense of peace that surrounded both of us when she hugged me.  My sense is that others experienced the same thing when they hugged her.  She had a marvelous singing voice and on three different occasions she sang incredible versions of my favorite spiritual song, “Amazing Grace”.   The last time she sang it, she was suffering terribly from cancer.  Where she found the energy to sing the way she did that day, I will never know. 


Zaniab was on a quest to find peace and fulfillment in life.  I believe she did.   


My hope is that everyone who reads this has at least one person in your life like Zainab.   Because if you do, you will know what it feels like to have God smile at you.



  1. Thank you Frank, for your eloquent words about our dear friend, Zainab. Your words capture so much of what I have and will continue to cherish in knowing, admiring, and loving Zainab.
    I had the priviledge of working closely with her, sharing our passion for sharing wellness with hundreds over many years. I had the delightful experience of traveling with Zainab numerous times to the beach and to various conventions. Being with Zainab, wherever we were, meant two things for sure. The experience would be richly spiritual. Like you stated Frank, G-d spoke and smiled through Zainab. The other thing I could count on with Zainab is we would be dancing and singing! Everyone wanted to dance with her! She had it going on!
    This year, at our beach retreat, we will pay a tribute to Zainab. Together, with others that have loved knowing her, we will create a special living memorial in honor of a woman, a sister, a teacher who deeply touched us with her pure heart and loving spirit. May you rest in peace, Zainab.

  2. It is with a heavy heart, yet a peacefull heart, that I sit here and remember the 7 delightful years that I spent with Zainab. When we first met, I couldn”t even say her name properly. She would just smile and gently help me pronounce it correctly. Everytime I was around her I saw a energetic and very strong, God loving woman. I don’t ever remenber her having a harsh word for any body or anything. She would always say that everything was in the good Lord’s hands and he knew how to take care of all things. She always had kind words for me and just seemed to soothe the heart when she was around. Yes, Sherri, she was a powerful woman in loving way. Yes ,Frank, when she hugged you, you knew you got hugged.

    I will dearly miss Zainab, and lest we not forget the hurt that Said must be experiencing right now. They both will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Dude..I didn’t really know Zainab but I certainly know you…and you are my oh so wisest coach, masterful mentor and dearest friend. And, for me being coached, hugged, laughed with and loved by you is being touched by the face of God. Thank you and of course this fabulous Universe for bringing you here to play with me!!!!

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