[My mother’s] life was filled with giving moments. Wherever she was — in an elevator, a taxi, an airplane, a parking lot, a supermarket, a bank — she would reach out to others. Once, a stranger admired the necklace she was wearing; my mother took it off and gave it to her. When the astonished woman asked, “What can I give you in return?” my mother said, “It’s not a trade, darling, it’s an offering.” Toward the end of her life, she would always arrive at the doctor’s office with a basket of fruit or a box of chocolates for the nurses. She knew that in an office where patients brought their anxiety and pain, the gesture would help change the atmosphere. Her tenacity in breaking through the barriers that people put up around their hearts was both enchanting and comical. If one of the nurses was, as she put it, “on automatic” and didn’t take the time to be friendly or personal, my mother would whisper to me, “This one doesn’t want to budge,” and would start looking for a way to give her extra attention. She might produce a little treat from her purse — a package of nuts, a special kind of chocolate — and give it to the woman, knowing she would get a smile. Giving was a way of being for her.