When I was growing up, my mother was always a friend to my siblings and me (in addition to being all the other things a mom is), and I was always grateful for that because I knew she was someone I could talk to and joke with, and argue with and that nothing would ever harm that friendship.
My mother was a strong-willed and opinionated woman - a Sicilian! - and if she didn't like something, she'd let you know about it. So her undying support of her kids went a long way in proving to us that we were on the right path.
When I look back at those pictures of my mother performing - and listen to her recordings - it makes me sad to think that all of that joy she found in her work came to an end. I wish she hadn't had to make that sacrifice, even if it was for the benefit of my father and siblings and me.
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