In other ways, she'll always be with us. I know one reason I have the self confidence to write is that my early years were spent with a mother who lavished devoted, uncritical love on me. I can still remember proudly showing her a picture I painted in kindergarten. She spent a minute or two praising my use of colors and telling me how much she liked it before she got around to asking me, ever so tactfully, what it was a picture of.
She was 86 and spent that last several years in declining health, but she never lost her happy smile or her joy in life itself. Until shortly before she died, you could still light up her face by offering her ice cream.
We will miss her.