My mother Mary nurtured my love of art from as early as I can remember. She saved every sketch, drawing, painting or craft that I ever made! She was my ardent supporter no matter how much I criticized my work. When I would want to tear it up and throw it away she would say "No!, don't do that. I love it!" She always manged to make me see that there was something special in it. She loved to paint as a child and received awards in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago children's program. And I remember taking her portfolio to my first grade class to show off her lively works in gouache. I was as proud of her as she was of me.
In the last months of her life with a brain tumor she went blind. And I'll never forget how she would use her other senses to see the beauty of the world around her. When we went shopping she would feel the clothing fabrics and say "This feels so beautiful!". And in my back yard she would smile with the sunshine beaming on her face, simply enjoying the warmth, the breeze and the sounds of the birds. Her courage and faith remain the greatest lessons of my life. With the fear of death confronting her, she never complained. I draw upon her inspiration in the seeming dark hours of my life and realize that I have the ability to see beyond the illusion of fear. I can choose to see life like her- with my heart.