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I thought I knew her well. Yet, now that my mother is gone (she passed away six months ago), I am surprised to discover how much I really never knew about her. I guess I took her for granted. It’s a bit like the 100-year-old house we lived in when I was a teenager. The sounds and substance became familiar...the squeak of the stairs, the clinking sound of the radiators turning on and off, the whine of the wind rattling the old windows, the Westminster chimes of the grandfather clock on the staircase landing. My mother was just there, and...

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If you get lucky in life, you get to learn from your mom and for a very long time. I got lucky with my mom, now 96 ½. With my two daughters, grandson, son-in-law, and beau, we get to toast her once again this coming Mother’s Day, and say thanks for all you’ve done. What exactly is the good stuff she’s done? Let me count the ways. I know there are others but these baker’s dozen (13) stand out. And for all those friends and family members who have lost their mothers, I hope the day isn’t too sad. Perhaps you...

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Barbara’s parents taught her well the importance of sharing, whether it was always setting another place at the table and adding water to the proverbial soup, donating to important charities and schools of their choice, and finding time to lend an ear to a friend or family member in need. And for Barbara’s late father, a physician, house calls were part of his mantra until he retired, and then even afterward. Barbara carried the lesson foreword once she married and had her own table to share. She also continued her mother’s baking as gifts, told her daughters it was up...

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It takes just one person in the dark to turn on a light. This means that each of us has the power to make small changes in society if we can get outside ourselves, help others, step in their shoes, dig down, and pull up our empathy genes. However, this kind of sharing is being shoved aside more and more to make room for a new phenomenon in today’s “sharing economy,” focusing on self—me, me, me. It seems to be going viral in our new virtual world where we all get to be a critic, a maven, a news maker,...

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It was similar to having several windows open simultaneously on a computer screen when in the course of a few months, a childhood friend called to tell me her husband was having major surgery, another long-time friend told me her spouse had a sudden fatal heart attack, and a former neighbor called crying to share that her husband walked out on her and was filing for divorce. How do you react when someone you are close to faces a crisis? Ignore it because you don’t want to feel that you’re being intrusive? Offer help? And what does help exactly mean?...

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