Photos by Daniel N, December 2010

Last year at this time I was putting together a Style Crone Holiday Hat Review, so why not roll out the tip of the holiday hat iceberg?   Somehow it seems like many years have past; when these photos were taken I was in the comfort of Nelson’s physical presence.  However, we were entering new territory.  I could continue to gaze into the familiar bottomless pools of his compassionate and kind dark brown eyes fringed with eyelashes that had been thinned by years of chemo and although the escalating and frightening physical changes related to the disease and treatment that were ravaging his body screamed ‘danger,’ everything about him remained beautiful in my eyes. It now becomes my task, as it does for many,  to release the trauma related to ‘living with crisis’ from my cells.  Today he is in my heart, but his absence during this cold and dark season is especially stark.

Music was always a major part of our lives, and the holidays were no exception.  One of Nelson’s favorites was ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ by Charles Brown, a blues singer who we saw live in an intimate venue before he died in 1999 at the age of 77.  Today as I listen to this song with new awareness and in the spirit of honoring the belief systems of all,  I am flooded with memories that will remain with me forever, when the days are short, bleak, bitter and the snow falls outside my door leaving a carpet of beauty, waiting for the light to return as the Winter Solstice slowly approaches to mark the end of the shortening of days.

Merry Christmas, Baby  Click to listen to Charles Brown.


  1. you look absolutely fabulous in hats, me, not so much. I do have a few to plop on when walking the dogs or enjoying nature. I am going to need to reconsider my affiliation with hats, you inspire me. Grief is an odd companion, I am looking at everything differently.

  2. Those hats are stunning, and wow, look at your gorgeous blue eyes!

    Music can be such a comfort, hope you’re finding some comfort and joy this holiday season. Your remarks about the bleakness remind me of the Morris Dance tradition of doing a sword dance on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, to call the sun to return and the days to lengthen again.

  3. I was thinking of you yesterday and realized this will be your first Christmas without Nelson. May you feel blessed with his presence through memories of holidays past, dear Judith.

  4. Ohhhh. Awake way too early after a bad dream, I logged in to see you in this beautiful red-and-green feathered hat. Balm for my eyes. Thank you for posting this lovely series of photos…

    And I LOVE this version of MCB. Excellent. I just sang one this last night, but I love his pared-down version. How special it must have been for the two of you to see him perform this live.

    Just thinking of you so much as you grapple with these challenging days of missing your dear Nelson. Sending so much love your way! Praying as always that MANY small moments of unexpected beauty & grace find you, and soothe your weary heart. I wish there were some way all of us here in cyberspace could physically meet and throw a big Judith Love Fest, and honor all the courage and persistence you’ve shown in the face of this past year. It may never feel like it, but you are one amazing woman and a great inspiration to so many!

    Big big love,

  5. We have a holiday dinner outing this evening with a half-dozen friends, and my partner asked this morning if I had yet planned what to wear. I replied that I was having trouble deciding on an element to build around but that I have toyed with ideas relating to several possibilities — starting with a vintage beaded sweater, or a fur jacket, or a favorite pair of opera gloves. After viewing your holiday hat review, I am leaning toward orienting my look around a beautiful hat. After all, you remind me that it’s what is in view above the dining table that has impact all evening.

    I feel for your sense of absence, and I know it marks every single day. I do hope you find some relief in not having to “live in crisis” as that too takes a toll. The stress can almost go unacknowledged when we are in the midst of it, but the weight of it is debilitating in its own way. I hope you are able to enjoy the music and traditions, time with friends and family, and memories of holidays with Nelson in the days to come even though a large part of you is struggling with grief and change. — Thank you for sharing so much of who you are. I have found the substance of your posts to be of genuine value, which is a real bonus since i initially thought I was tuning in for the hats and outfits!

  6. You are a brave and beautiful woman. Your posts often bring tears, especially when I look at your lovely smile. I’m sorry for your loss,but I’m sure you will survive.

  7. My heart goes out to you Judith. You express your loss so beautifully, never pityingly, always directly, always on the mark. Have you ever considered song writing or poetry to express your feelings? The depth of your insights and the beauty of the way you express yourself touches people deeply. Maybe through songs you could touch many, many more people?

    It must be a sad time for you: the first of many occasions, large and small that you have to face without him.

    May you continue to find solace and beauty where ever it presents itself.

    Much love from England,

  8. I visit your blog every so often and am fascinated by your enthusiasm for life, your determination to keep on dressing up and being you, albeit being still grieving. I can recognise your heartache in my own father’s who lost his lifetime partner – my mother, two years ago. He is not as young as you and trying to console him is many times futile. Although we have never met and although you are so very distant in me in all senses, I do wish you a serene Christmas, warm in the memory of your loved one.

  9. beautiful………………..

    I was just listening to that song yesterday thinking, now here’s one Judith might not know about. Wrong again!

  10. The hats are all gorgeous, as is your smile and your beautiful blue eyes. I can only try to imagine what you are experiencing, missing your dear one in this cold season. We have always loved that song and now will think of you and Nelson when we play it.

  11. Thinking of you over the festive season and sending you lots and lots of love.
    Those hats are just beautiful, especially the red feathery one. x

  12. Your hats so represent who you are…vibrant, classic, and timeless. Memories are a key part of who we are as well….and I hope that they somehow put a smile on your face and comfort in your soul. You remain an inspiration, Judith.

  13. So sorry for your loss and not easy for you this time of year – but this is a cliche I know, but i will get easier with time –

    I can not get over how good you look! i wish i will look like you at your age, you are so radiant! your hats are fabulous and every single one looks good on you –

    Ariane xxxx

  14. Your hats are lovely, last year and this year. Everything has changed but beauty remains, an echo of what can be experienced as a constant. Love is an active principle. Your smile and embrace during this season are so important to those lucky enough to share them and pass them on. Thank you for the gift!

  15. What wonderful hats and what radiant photographs of you…Nelson’s love reflected. I’m sure this holiday will be a challenge. May many things remind you of him.

  16. Well, I have exhausted myself researching hats for the last three days. And at the end of it all I found your blog and am delighted. I had just got home from my sister’s where I wore a hat I found today, that broke new ground in the “You’ll never get a man in that hat,” memorial to Grandmother Essie, who first said it when I wore a pink felt with silver bugle bead bow off to play golf, as I had nothing else. I have never heard the end of it. I read you blog on bed jackets. I am one who can’t handle heat, but like to read at night. That is where the mink capes come in handy. I also use them as ‘buffalo’ robes to keep the grandchildren warm when they are ill. They are perfect, and make them feel like they are in a healing tent. And if they get sick on them, well fur can handle everything.

  17. Brave you listening to nostalgic music – even now when I am not spending Christmas with my parents hearing carols makes me cry. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas in spite of it being your first without your loved one.
    You always have the most wonderful hats.

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