The holidays are my favorite time of year. As my home fills with the joy and laughter of my six children and four grandchildren, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have the most wonderful job in the world – being a mother and grandmother.

It’s the single most important thing I’ve done with my life, and I know just how important the job is because I am constantly reminded of what an influence my own mother was in my life.

My mother Mieke survived three and a half horrific years in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. During that time, she focused all of her energy on caring for fellow prisoners who were far worse off than she was. 

When I think of my mother, I think of the selfless love she had not only for my family, but for complete strangers as well. She’s with me every day as I challenge myself to live my life in the same way.

I am so blessed to have a wonderful family and career that I love, and I see my mother in all of those things. I see her every day in the faces of my children and grandchildren.  I am reminded of her each time a single white feather floats through the air – whether on good days or bad days – and I have to smile knowing that she is always with me.

Her love is reflected in my work as an actor, artist and philanthropist. Without her example, I wouldn’t be who I am today and while I miss her endlessly during the holidays, I know that if I live my life the way she did, I will make the same impact on my family and that is truly a gift.

Jane Seymour is an award-winning actress, philanthropist, artist and author. For more information on Jane and her Open Hearts philosophy visit her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.