I spent many hours in my mother’s empty house the winter after she died. Several times a week my husband David would offer to watch the children for the afternoon, hand me a travel mug of hot tea, and wave me out the door. Ten minutes later, I’d be walking through the rooms somewhat aimlessly, poking into boxes of her possessions and immersing myself in the enigma of a woman who’d spent her life creating beauty through her paintings, woodcarvings, quilts and wall hangings. I grieved openly in the unaccustomed silence, my shoulders shaking with sobs, tears freely flowing down my cheeks. Catharsis complete, I’d wipe my eyes, sit down at her table, and begin to write.