Although it is the words that remain, it is not exactly, or not entirely, the words that I remember. I have read them all many times, in her diaries and letters, in her poetry, in the early accounts of her flights as a pioneer aviator in partnership with my father, in the bestselling Gift from the Sea and in her one or two semi-autobiographical novels, though she generally avoided that form. I did too, years later. Writing fiction was not the most comfortable literary activity for either one of us, perhaps because whatever we wrote was always so close to our own lives that fiction seemed needlessly deceitful. No, it is not the words that I remember about my mother, though I am very familiar with the words. It is instead some sense of presence, a kind of surrounding that remains one of the strongest elements in my life. Once in a while I find something written by someone else, not my mother, that describes that quality perfectly, giving the essence of who she was for me.