As mother-son stories go, ours did not go gentle, but under our opposing tides, she taught me just that: Hold fast to what you care about, even against a rising tide. She was remarkable that way, pushing aside fortune and wealth, prestige and achievement, status and ease—or any other force—for what she most admired: A quality of innocence, guilelessness, and freedom to be, conditions that allow the natural charm of a person to arise. When she recognized this complex quality in someone, love flowed from her like a well-spring. This meant, above all else, that she cared about the quality of life she and her people lived.
She passed away as a young woman, when I was a teenager, but I still see her rejecting artifice of all forms, probing her deep intuitions about people, searching for the better flows in their personalities, an impression that has worked its way deep into my subconscious. Through her influence, I hold life as a sacred journey, which nurtures inside me the freedom to cultivate matters of importance. I sift through Life’s barrage of circumstances, as she did, sorting out the meaningful from the trivial, all the while keeping an eye open for special qualities to emerge and readying the best of myself to respond. Without her fierce tenacity at the root of my mind, I believe my ambition would not be tempered with love, my achievement, with freedom, nor my hard work, with joy.