The person I admire most in all the world is my mother. Mom's 80 years old now, living in my hometown, Oberstein, in Germany.  She still takes care of her home, looks after my nephew and my sister's cats when Martina and her husband are at work or travel on business, and is probably in better shape than I am... around town, she walks everywhere she wants to get to. No mean feat considering that Oberstein has more hills than Rome.

Of course I miss her awful since I'm so far away, but there is comfort in the fact we can pick up the phone and talk any time we want to. She's a gentle, kind, caring soul, I don't remember ever hearing a bad word come out of her mouth about anyone, on the contrary, she has taught me to look for something good in even the darkest places. She's also most unpretentious soul I've ever met, I doubt she'd even know how to put on airs. Her 'live and let live' attitude has been a great comfort to me and my sister, because for all the stupid things we manage to get into, we can always run to Mom and count on her understanding and her love. From her I have inherited my insatiable appetite for reading, a love for learning, the ability to dream, to use my imagination. She opened a whole new world for me when I got a bit older and we graduated from fairy tales to legends and sagas of gods and monsters, of heroes and villains... her most special gift to me is the connection I have to my ancient roots through Germanic lore and mythology.

For all her gentle sweetness, there's steel underneath. She lived through World War II and was one of the unfortunates that barely got out of Berlin alive as Russian soldiers laid waste to the city and its unlucky population.  She then married my dad even though he was seriously ill, having been wounded in a Russian POW camp and shipped back home to the hospital where she worked as a nurse. Taking care of him and raising me and my younger sister became her life's work. Never giving up, through years of poverty and under the disapproving eye and crushing personality of her mother in law, followed by 20 years of quiet happiness with dad as grandma passed and us girls went out on our own. Then her quiet despair when dad died, it wrenched our hearts, but she threw herself into caring for my then-newborn nephew and found a new lease on life.

My most heartfelt plea to the Gods is that they grant me and my sister the physical presence of our mother for a long, long time to come.
My Mother -- My Hero
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This dedication to my mother was written not too long before her death on what would have
been my father's birthday, 06 June 2003.  I can only try to take comfort from the knowledge
that she was spared the horror that is living with advcanced, incurable cancer, that she is
once again united with dad, whom she missed every day of her life for the past 14 years,
and knowing that I will see her again on the other side.  Until then, Mom.  I love you!