For as long as I can remember my mother placed this statue in a prominent position in her home. For the past year he has been standing in her hutch overlooking her room. For the past two weeks he stood happily over her bed as she left us. He is Hotei, sometimes called the laughing Buddha. According to Wikipedia, he is admired for his happiness, plenitude, and wisdom of contentment. One belief popular in folklore maintains that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.

Mom passed away on Friday of last week. She believed she would win the lottery, she soldiered on in optimism during calamaties, she laughed deeply and loudly when the spirit moved her. She never stopped learning and always looked toward the horizon, itching to travel.

She will be missed. And Hotei will always remind us to smile with joy and contentment as we move forward.