Growing up on Long Island, New York, my fondest memories were of the times I spent with Mom.
During the October season, we enjoyed watching the vibrant green leaves turn to rust, brown, orange, and red.
In the backyard of our home, I shivered in the damp air. I winced at the acrid odor of turpentine while watching her paint landscapes. She taught me how to mix colors, add texture, and depth to the subjects on canvas.
With her face fixed with intensity, she brought life to leafless oak trees, their bony branches swaying in the light wind.
Mom had talent and style, setting her work apart from other artists.
Today, her pieces decorate my living room and library. I will never forget the sacrifices she made for me. Or the time I 'played' artist and added some strokes of my own to one of her paintings. I was nine years old and she did not scold me.
Years later, when she became sick, I held her hand, purple and bruised from too many I.V. needles.
She covered my hand with hers and said, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll be fine in heaven.”
With one look at her work, I am brought back to those brisk, autumn days, in the backyard of my childhood home. Mom found beauty in nature, art, and our relationship.
Years after her death, when a leaf falls from a tree and lands on my skin, I think of her and her sweet, loving messages.