My mother’s urge to protect was so strong, it lasted long past my childhood. Whenever I’d tell her about some problem, her response was “How can I help?” —even in her 90s, when she was virtually blind and deaf. When she died at age 96 and I was cleaning out her apartment, I found a stash of umbrellas, which I took and stockpiled for myself. Each time I’d lose one, I’d replace it with another. Today I lost the last one. I feel its loss as a final farewell to my mother, and her protection from the rains of life.