“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I wasn't ready. I never will be ready. Her laughter, her smiling eyes, her wit, her warmth, her strength; I wasn't ready to live without them. When I lost my mother I felt a huge vacuum in my life.

She raised my sister and me on her own. She took care of her four brothers when they were growing up. She worked past her retirement age because her work would not let her go. There was nothing more I liked than sitting in on one of her gatherings of friends. They'd all been close since university. Our house would be filled with 20 strong women – diplomats, professors, entrepreneurs, housewives. Oh what fun, what inspiration. My friends would also come spend time with her. Her former bosses would constantly phone her from all over the world - just to catch up. She didn't like to cook; but she was really good at it. I miss her so much.

She believed in her choices. She never had regrets: with her family, her friends, her work, her life.

I remember her incredible strength 15 years ago when she lost her own mother: we cried, we laughed, we ate, we prayed, we shared sweet memories and somehow step by step we gradually came to accept it. That was her choice then. And now it's mine.

— Lina Fares