She taught me that the power of will, the force of your life spirit, can overcome any physical pain. And not once, ever, did she let me put myself down in front of her.
She was an artist. She created something beautiful and mouth-watering in her kitchen everyday of her life. In fact, she had to put a lock on her refrigerator because I used to sneak into her baking studio when I was a kid and eat frosting she had reserved for her wedding cakes.
She was meticulous. Her house was white. Her sheets were white. Her carpets were white. And it was all clean.
She was fearless. She would stand toe-to-toe with someone, no matter who it was, and tell them exactly what they needed to hear. She stuck up for herself. She took care of herself.
She loved animals. She raised Duchess, an abandoned part-wolf pup, and trained her to be a well-behaved, beloved member of the family.
She loved her family. She encouraged me to pursue my passions. She told me I was smart. When I told her I wanted to write a book, she wanted to be the first to know all about it.
She sang like an angel and passed that gift onto me.
She was adventurous. In 1983, when she was 60, she went on a Friendship Force trip to Egypt with her sister Mary Ann, and rode a camel in the desert (pictured above).
She was my confidante. She made me laugh.
I will miss her more than I know how to express.
She was a force.