Memorial Trubutes

Never did I think I would have this unhappy and unnatural task. And the idea of standing here in the middle of this nightmare and talking about my lost child seemed impossible. Until I realized I would have the opportunity of telling everyone about the marvelous person she was.

Yes, she was beautiful, at times spectacular, a vision; yes, she had grace and intelligence and an overabundance of talent in so many different directions: the way she could capture beauty in her magnificent sculptures and her exquisite jewelry; she had kindness, loyalty, and the capacity for deep love, but the most outstanding of her qualities, the one I valued above all was her extraordinary courage. Not just the kind of courage that makes an athlete, but the kind that can save people's lives.

One time we were driving up Broadway and as we hit 72nd street, a homeless man wandered out into the middle of the rushing traffic. She screeched the car over to the curb jumped out, and darting cars raced right into the traffic, grabbed him and pulled him over to the sidewalk. All the while I was shouting, stop! come back!

I come from a family where the bywords were always, watch your fingers, watch the steps, don't run you'll fall, be careful, don't lean over, stand back, hold on... where you needed written instructions to cut a bagel, and then I have this child who isn't afraid to risk her life to save a stranger. I was fascinated by that courage, and I always felt that was what led me to idea of the Fearless series.

She was impressive, but never as much as during this last year, this last fight. She went through hell with little complaint and only the thought of leaving her son, John, brought the rare tears. The worse it got, the stronger she became. She showed us all what ordinary mortals we were.

But the true test of her amazing courage was her courage to stop fighting. Not to give up. Never! She simply switched the fight into the other direction.

I have three daughters and in this last year they have been remarkable. Susan flying out from New York all those times, sometimes after only a day at home she would be back on the plane to LA. And Laurie, truly the one in charge, day in and day out never leaving her sister, protecting her, organizing her, comforting her, and Jamie, my Jamie, showing us all the magnificence and brilliance of courage.

- Francine


2008 Heirloom Lace Collection, Jamie Stewart