(My mother, Helen Andrew, died at home on May 5th. Instead of my regular column I’d like to share this excerpt from my eulogy.)

14.10M&meInItalyMy mother loved through the created world. My first memories are of her hip pressed into my thigh as she tucked me into bed at night, said our prayers, and sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.” She loved me through the needlework rabbits jumping through a green field over my bed, through the smocking across the front of my dresses, and through the ridiculously intricate 1970s pant suits she sewed for my Barbie dolls. She loved us through her dried beef casseroles and split pea soup and dozens of crazy cakes baked both at home and in reflector ovens while camping. She loved home, being home, and making home. This was my mother’s art form, her ability to make a beautiful, comforting home base for family wherever we were—even in Japan for four years, even at a campsite.

She tended the community this way, too, humbly, by making and ironing the altar cloths at church, for example—which is why we always had white grape juice for communion. Continue reading