There was a time I could not conceive of life without my beloved mother. I used to joke with myself, “Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe I’ll die first.” Well, I didn’t die first. But I am the fortunate owner of, and have direct access to, several boxes stuffed with letters from mom, written over the span of a quarter century. Mom was an inveterate letter writer—pen to paper, no drafts, amazingly clean final.