From My Mother at Christmas

The year I was nine years old, my mother lost her life to a sudden cerebral hemorrhage two weeks before Christmas. I think about her every year at this time.

I was so young when she died, I didn’t really get to know her. I can’t remember anything she told me back then that could have helped me on my way, but, now, I hear much she might have said. I think perhaps she’s been telling me things all along; I just didn’t know to listen.

Daughter, as you grow up and go out into the world, make sure to learn to make some noise.  Laugh like a child.  Swear like a trooper when it’s needed. Speak what’s on your mind.  Be opinionated, and let the world know what your opinions are, even if it disagrees and wants to debate you over them.

Dress outrageously if it pleases you, and live up to your clothes. Wear stiletto heals. Wear plaids with stripes.  Wear your favorite T-shirt until it disintegrates.  Wear your individuality with confidence.

Picture your fantasy, and make it come true.

 Take risks. Do the things you dream but don’t dare.  Climb up a mountain. Jump from an airplane. Dive down to the ocean floor.  Go to Tibet and visit the Dalai Lama. Go to the movies alone.

Be whatever you want to be.  Be an astronaut.  Be a ballet dancer.  Be the President. Be a revolutionary.  Be true to yourself.  Be proud.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself.  Paint a picture. Write a novel. Throw a pot.  Weave a rug.  Dance with abandon. Sing loudly as though you could carry a tune.

Talk to children and to old folks; both have a lot to tell you. Talk to strangers. Talk to animals. Talk to yourself. 

Share your journey with good friends.  Share your good fortune with those less fortunate.  Share your expertise with anyone who needs it.  Share your life with someone you love madly. 

Marry a prince. Marry a poet.  Marry a doctor, a lawyer, or an Indian chief.  Marry your very best friend.

Explore your talents. Play the piano. Play hostess at the party of the year and wow them with your culinary skills.  Play tennis like a pro.

Be competitive, but play fair.  Play Scrabble with your husband, and let him win now and then. Play dress-up with your children and love them unconditionally.  Play on the floor with your grandchildren and spoil them every chance you get.

Live with love and laughter and joy.  Live your life fully and without fear. Daughter, live your life as if I were still in it. 

I hear you, Mom. Merry Christmas.


  1. I read this, out loud, to Love Muffin as we were driving to visit her Mom, who's in a nursing home. It took a while to get out of the car. She needed time to wipe the tears from her eyes and blow her nose.


    And a Merry Christmas to you, Patti.

  2. Thank you, Lou. Merry Christmas to you and Love Muffin (I love that! You are such a romantic!).

    P.S. I hope she was the one driving...

  3. This was so beautiful, filled with emotion n' passion for life! I loved it~
    I'm sorry for your loss, you were so young~
    My Dad died at 45, suddenly, I was older, but it made an impact on me, my life~

    I loved your view; I felt connected to your words~
    Thank you for sharing a facet of your soul!

  4. This is beautiful Patti. Simply beautiful. And I know that she said every word of it.


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