Margherita Mother's Day

I’m honoring all moms on this Mother’s day, including my own Margherita.

My Margherita left this earth  in October of 2021 but it feels like yesterday. I still talk to her everyday, think-share funny stories with her and miss her beautiful smile and easy laugh.

I walk daily by the memory of our time together. I am reminded of the fun we had each time the music moves me to dance in front of the Gallery. Margherita was shy, but she always got up to dance and damn, she could move!

Mom lived her older years the way she probably wanted to live in her younger ones. She had friends, socialized and always needed to be on the go. When she grew up, the child of immigrant Italian parents in Brooklyn, her future was almost scripted. Meet a man, get married, have children. She wanted more, but the time did not offer her options.

Had she been able to choose, I don’t think motherhood would have been first on her list. In some ways, that’s why she was such a good mother. Mom did not coddle us, she was fierce. She had high standards and strong opinions. She was also a fervent feminist. Once she learned what feminism was, she was one of its greatest proponents. 

Margherita taught her children as she learned. We lived in New York and she brought us to the theater, to museums, to off broadway plays. She learned how to camp and put up a tent so she could take her girls on vacation. She encouraged us to work from a young age, open bank accounts and understand how to save and when to spend money. She wanted us to have everything she was not offered. That was the beginning of mom’s generosity. It went on and on.

When I quit my career in broadcasting to become an artist, she questioned me, but ultimately encouraged me. After 23 years on the road traveling, she wanted me to stay closer to home, so when the Gallery idea materialized, she loved it. Margherita was my greatest advocate and my closest friend.

A child of the 50’s she didn’t know how to navigate sexuality with her girls or herself, so when it came up she was awkward, but she moved through it. Margherita learned how to understand the new openness of the 1980’s (from sexual expression to marijuana : ) and ultimately benefited from it herself as her circle of friends and acquaintances grew with love compassion and a ton of fun!

My Margherita was complex. Her 84 years ended too quickly, with no warning and perhaps before it should have. I cannot change that, instead I choose to celebrate her that is within me, not only in memory, but also in attitude. My feminism is her early voice, developed and refined; my joy of community is her shyness shedding its skin and my art appreciation is her love of Manhattan and all it had to offer.

This second mother’s day without my Margherita is bittersweet. Bitter because I still feel the sting of her loss and sweet because I have a thousand memories of love to revisit.

Margherita Maria Josephina Iorlano went from my mother, to my friend and ultimately to my child. She first protected, then educated, then set me free, only to come back and lean into my love, to trust me as her world began to dim and her memory fade.

My heart has the still tender wound that has yet to scar over. Wrapped around that wound is the salve of knowing that we were complete when she left and I shall see her again.

I hope you join us in celebrating your beautiful mother during our Margherita Mother’s Day Sale in the Gallery this year on May 14th.



  • Emma McMahon

    What a moving tribute. You write as beautifully as you sculpt. I had the privilege of talking with your mom one evening and enjoyed every moment of her charming presence. Her strength, beauty and wisdom lives on in her extraordinary daughter. Wishing you comfort in your grief, Brenda.

  • Judy

    This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing this and your mom…much, much love to you.

  • Mary

    Beautifully written Brenda. I enjoyed having your mom in my life and joining us for pool days. I too miss her.

  • MaryAnn Welch

    Brenda I love your beautiful tribute to Aunt Margie. She was a great role model. She demonstrated what it meant to be a strong, well traveled, independent woman. I picture her with my Dad, Aunt Mickey and Grandma and Grandpa. She is smiling down on her girls!

  • Paula Roy

    My favorite image of you and your mom came from the day we had you folks out on a boating day where we anchored off of Shell Island. I tried to copy the active photo of you kissing Margherita after we got out of the water and were cooling off in the warm breeze off of Ft DeSoto. You both had huge smiles and we all laughed at some silly joke. I will never forget the day we invited Margherita and her two companions, you and Cathy for a boating trip. Your beautiful tribute brings joy to our hearts and brings us back to the fondness we shared for your mom. A great mother, indeed!

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