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We lived next door to one another until I was seven and she has always remained my mentor, friend, spiritual encourager, and cheerleader. She was a sage of intellect and wisdom. With my first book, I'd learn of a large order of books from one private buyer, and discover later she was the purchaser, and also discover that she was sending copies to the likes of Oprah and others she thought should be aware of me. We were cousins, but our kinship went far deeper than that. Without prelude or warning she departed January 24, 2007. She was private in her gifts and her endlessly generous good deeds, so I must respect that privacy now and not call her by name, but her name is ever imprinted on my soul, in my mind, on the tip of my tongue when I want to define beauty inside and out.
I bid you adieu, dearest one -- until we meet again.