** When I was a toddler you picked me up and wiped my tears.
** When I started school you taught me to share my sandwiches with those who did not have.
** When you caught me smoking with my friends at age eleven you told me that smoking was for rough girls and you encouraged me to stop.
** When I sent away my first story to a radio station at twelve you told me not to be afraid to reach far and encouraged me to write.
** When I said to you at sixteen that I would like to be an actress, you said, my girl, I would not like you to do that; your job will depend on your looks and I would not like you to be in show business.
** When I left the country at age 21 with just my sister, younger than me, you told me not to be afraid and that you would see me soon. You gave us enough money to take care of ourselves.
** When we were young girls, before leaving for Canada, you encouraged us to bring our boyfriends to the house so you could know who they were. You served them coffee and cake and always were nice to them.
** When I got married to a foreigner you left your work in South Africa to help me with the baby and spend some time with us. You were kind to my husband and he was kind to you.
** When I got divorced you cried because you knew the damage done to children who grow up without a father. You cried because you remembered your own experiences and did not want us girls to go through what you had.
** When I got published you were my number one fan. You sat in a wheelchair at my first launch. Georgina and I pushed you up the hill to the acupuncturist in the rain. You believed that the Chinese man’s needles would fix you. We had a few good years together and then your number came up and there was nothing anyone could do. Even then, with your last breath, you would not leave until I told you not to struggle anymore to live, that you had been a good mother who always loved and put her kids first. You gave a last sigh and slipped away. If I have done an ounce of good in my life, I owe it all to you, Mom; thank you.