Threads of a Christmas Past

By Cynthia Lieberman | December 20, 2020

My mother, Victoria Peabody, was a limitless, influential woman, a maverick in every sense of the word. She carved a long and wide burn mark on this earth as she blazed through life, breaking rules that didn’t even exist and ignoring ones that did but didn’t suit her. In fact, she created and followed her own rules, right down to her last dying day.

Four years ago this month, stage four lung cancer lit up inside my mom like a Christmas tree. During this particular holiday season, I can’t help but think how she would have been one of the most vulnerable ones, forced to succumb to the coronavirus’ vigorous icy grip.

One of my mom’s greatest attributes was that she was a fierce warrior for the underdog. She was also an ingenious seamstress and fiber artist. If she were with us today, I am certain she’d be tapping into her vast treasure trove of amazing fabrics and sewing masks up a storm for those in need.


Victoria on her birthday, with one of her last creations (December 2016).


She was particularly known for the striking designs in the architecture of her quilts. Each creation was unique and rare as a beautiful snowflake, with unusual textile patterns juxtaposed into single, complementary, and expressive narratives.


Victoria shows off her Award-Winning Quilt at the Simi Valley Guild Quilt Show, 2016


I can only imagine how each of the masks she designed would have creatively explored a range of emotions called forth by the pandemic: isolation, sadness, resilience and hope. Some would have paid tribute to essential workers such as nurses and doctors–and even the Amazon drivers! Others would have certainly provide inspirational messages urging people to keep the faith during these unprecedented times.

Pandemic Threads of the Christmas Present

I was fortunate enough to have months of precious face-to-face contact with her before her passing. And unlike those who are losing family and loved ones as they lie in isolation, she was surrounded at home by her closest family members who held her hands and whispered how much they loved her in her ear.


Cynthia Lieberman with mother Victoria Peabody at Simi Valley Quilt Guild Show, 2016


Victoria (center), surrounded by family and special Christmas quilt filled with handwritten messages from her sewing friends


Sadly, the coronavirus has robbed families of that luxury. Suddenly faced with life’s most tragic and intimate moments, close family and friends are banned from bedsides and patients die alone. Last goodbyes by relatives who fly in from across the country are missed and funeral services are postponed. Physical hugs are set aside for later.

Threads of the Christmas Future

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have had say “goodbye” to loved ones from a distance, and tens of thousands more have had to “visit” from afar.

Why take the risk and be among them if you can avoid it?

Invest in the fruitfulness of a healthy, happy and prosperous future by savoring each moment you have with those you care about. CALL (not Zoom, not text, not email) a lonely friend or elderly person living in a home. Send out handwritten holiday cards this year. Skip Starbucks for a week and buy food or a new toy to donate to less fortunate families.

And please carry out the most important and unselfish task this season–wear a mask, keep your social distance, wash your hands often. Keep gatherings at a minimum this month and avoid unnecessary travel.

I know my mom would, and Mother always knows best.

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Lieberman
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