The Greatest Gift Ever Received

By Jordan Patterson

Though it has been years since my momma died, since she moved on without me, I never stopped thinking about her and the influence on my life. She left behind a legacy of love and wisdom that still resonates within my soul.

As a child my momma told me that suffering comes with love, and that one doesn’t exist without the other. She said “Jordan, you need to find a place for your suffering, it’s not a curse, it’s a blessing.” She said, “you’re sensitive and a lover, and it’s always going to be like this.” Those words, spoken so long ago, have stayed with me and guided me through every stage of my life.

So before my aunt Joan passed away she started reading me my momma letters that these two women exchanged over the many years of their lives and one where my momma described her plans to adopt me. It was then that I realised the depth of love my momma had for me, even before I came into this world.

I felt a surge of emotions as I listened to my aunt's trembling voice, weaving the stories of the letters together with a tender nostalgia. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realised that the greatest gift I had ever received was not something tangible, but rather the profound love that I felt my entire life.

In that moment, surrounded by the words of love penned by my momma and the heartfelt narrations of my aunt, I knew that this gift was real and mine to keep forever. I share this because My momma would tell me as a child that she’d been searching for me my whole life. Oftentimes she would ask “do you know how much I love you?”

With tears streaming down my face, I responded to my momma's question, "No, Momma, I don't think I'll ever fully.”

It is heartbreaking to think but it wasn’t until the end of her life that we had one of the most important conversations together. She held my hand tightly, her eyes brimming with wisdom and a lifetime of experiences. She sat in front of me weeping. My momma thought that being mistreated and abused by my family members meant she had somehow failed me in life.

In that vulnerable moment, I reached out and reassured her, "Momma, please don't blame yourself.”

I was quick to remind her of all the wonderful books she read to me as a child, and how The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe had inspired my dreams and sense of adventure. I told her that her love, guidance, and nurturing had shaped me into the person I had become. I told her that I love because she loves me.

In that tender moment, I watched as a wave of relief washed over my momma's tear-stained face. She took a deep breath and a small smile formed at the corners of her lips. As She said “I love you Jordan, you’re the greatest gift ever received.”


Date: September 9th 2023

Gratitude And The Life Worth Living

By Jordan Patterson

I wish I could say that I was perfect...that I was loved by many, favoured to win, and that I'd never been involved in some best-described-as-regrettable life moments. No bad deed goes unpunished...but knowing my regret and the slow-in-my-sorrow to be real, it is "those" life-learning moments that I wish I could finally catch a receipt on and find a way to close that chapter of my life. 
I wish I wasn’t in ownership of a long list of regret; things which I pray to God that you, among others, will hopefully never someday find out...things which I pray could be somehow changed and in one way or another, forgiven. But just how much it is, of my personal debt, that God feels is still outstanding...seems to be ongoing and yet-to-be decided. But then again, I’ve learned that as people, we're more the same than we are different. We all have a past...but it’s equally important to always remind ourselves that we have a future, too.
I’ve learned that life isn't easy and most certainly isn't fair, nor is it meant to be. Everybody’s personal life journey is different and the same or similar experience that might affect or impact my life may have a completely different but equal impact and outcome in yours. The only guarantee that comes by way of life is that you will learn the entire time and your limits will always be tested. As you stand on your path to greatness, remember that...and just as death and taxes are two facts of life you can assuredly count on, peoples’ comments and opinions about you, whether solicited or not and/or accurate in their description, are as much a guarantee, as well.  Although assumed greatness is a guarantee for the lives of many, the benefits of "true" greatness are only visible in the lives of those who’ve chosen the preparedness of its possible delivery someday into their lives.
My life has taken me to places which weren’t even thought possible or in any way expected by most of those who held influence over the beginning stages of my personal journey. But the blessing of “chance” and its arrival into one's life is real...and knowing that to be true, you need to be careful what you wish for or what you say you’re willing to do because it means that one day, you just might find yourself standing in the middle of your most desired dreams. It’s in that moment, when your ultimate goal, the very thing you've dreamed might someday be possible, now has you suddenly standing face-to-face with your future. Preparation for that moment is a key element in determining if and how you will move forward. 
We all have a particular purpose in life. Oftentimes, however, if we haven’t been given adequate guidance, we find ourselves floundering in trying to understand exactly what our life’s goals and objectives are or can be. Without some semblance of direction, we can’t seem to determine our reason for living or find the necessary resources to create a life of success. In general, we most often start out with a specific plan and we might even share our dreams with others on where we’d like to see ourselves. Yet, sometimes, due to ill-planning, indecision, not knowing how, procrastination or missed opportunities, we wind up falling short of ever achieving what we aspired to do...just as those dreamers with a lack of legitimate experience, who always have that one “absolutely-guaranteed-not-to-fail” plan and oftentimes throw caution to the wind, putting everything on the line. When the bottom eventually falls out, they slowly become consumed by failure and a lack of self-worth. This would even include the once-successful but now destitute person, who most of us have no problem walking past, as they stand on a corner asking for help. 
Subsisting without support and never given any positive reinforcement, some people often find themselves spinning out of control. Their reality quite often turns into a life of hopelessness, desperation and the feeling of inadequacy. And how do we reward them? We turn our backs on them because so much in today’s society affirms that “everyone loves a winner and success”. Yet, if you’re on the unfortunate flip-side of that coin, then shame on you for your awful and disgraceful misfortune. Sadly, their emotions can best be understood only by someone who has experienced that same despair and the humiliation that generally accompanies it. On the other hand, for some of those who have been born into wealth and privilege and have been provided the vast luxuries and trappings that affluence can provide, how they learn to respect their prosperity is often telling of who they will become and how they will choose to respond to others.

Sadly, as we too often see today, many people of privilege and entitlement have lost sight of their ability to care about the plight of those who are less fortunate and whatever natural feeling of empathy and goodwill they might have had at one time, if ever, has since been replaced with snobbish disapproval and criticism. 
There is nothing that creates a greater frustration for me personally than when I witness what I describe as the “privileged ignorance” of others. The ignorance of those who not only think but believe that life is fair and that we all have the same opportunities as those who live next door, down the street, or in some cases, under the same roof which we call home. In most cases, without knowing the circumstances that might have led to a person’s insolvency, we tend to close our eyes to the fear and desperation someone in need feels in asking for assistance.

We act as if the cries for help aren’t real and the problems which they face are not only deserved but solely created by their own actions and we respond in ways to ensure that they know themselves to be of lesser importance than the very people they’ve come to for help. For many of us, it’s much easier to assume that a poor soul’s misfortune was caused from a lack of effort, know-how, bad decision-making, or by choice. And, in a nutshell, as long as it’s he or she that’s crippled by tears, the one begging on the corner and not us, it becomes strictly their problem for which we don’t need to bear any sense of compassion or responsibility. 
I don’t look to lecture or be one of these people who consider themselves of greater importance than others. However, the fact is that we’ve created a new low and become at ease with what we once considered to be intolerable in the actions or behaviour of others. In doing so, we've adopted this willing ignorance to somehow accept or make excuses for these individuals...or we actually listen and give our time to the line of those waiting to defend the very things which we know to be inexcusable. Have you ever taken the time to stop and really consider how your actions or the things which you’ve said could possibly affect someone else’s life? Perhaps, you might be the kind of person who tells the world what you’re willing to do and gloatingly boasts when you say, “I always do my part". You might even say, “Give me a call if you ever think there’s something I can do", as you emphasise with a wink-of-the-eye, to ensure that those in listening distance have been put-on-notice about your greatness. Then ultimately, when called upon and you fail to follow through, you shrug it off.

Regardless of the impact your lack of participation might have had on someone else’s life, it’s not a big deal for you to know that you didn't or couldn’t deliver...and no matter what inconvenience or disappointment you may have caused someone after all your boasting and showing off, your attitude is “they’ll get over it”.  But will they? 
The one commonality that we all experience, whether we are rich, poor, or in-between, is how we handle the various pains that automatically come with being alive. Even though status in life might determine how pain is dealt with, when it comes to the aching loss of one’s dignity and the associated short and long-term damage that tend to follow, it’s then that life statuses tend to become equalised. In those life moments, I have learned that you can’t win the argument of suffering. During one’s pursuit up the ladder of success, forgetting those we might have intentionally and maliciously crossed along the way can be a dangerous recipe for an eventual lifetime of retaliation and long-term failure.

Therefore, we should refrain from living selfishly and being driven by the “need to have" and we should adopt a lifestyle with the intention of caring and the will-to-do-good. This “will-to-do-good” allows everyone the opportunity to enjoy life’s good graces, as they go about making seamless, pleasurable and unselfish efforts in the enjoyment of achievement for themselves and others.  
I’ve always believed that personal achievement is meant for reflection and to provide direction in our next plan of action. It is also the opportunity to dream about our ultimate goals. It’s been said and I fully agree that “life is much better when shared than polished and held back for one’s personal enjoyment". At times, we become discouraged because of what we perceive to be the limited impact of our lives or in the lives of those we look to change. However, this untruth happens by reason of forgetting that were influenced most by our own dreams and internal drive. It’s that same drive and the unrealistic expectations in the measurement of what we consider to be our success that causes us to doubt or fail to recognize those moments created by us, which have allowed forward movement and the consideration of acceptance by something we spoke. In our pursuit of acceptance, we make the most critical decisions in life alone and fearfully... in hope of how it is we assume those who matter to us will respond to our attempt to gain their approval.

It’s the people who know and understand us that truly matter and it’s those same people who remind us of the importance we play within each other’s lives. Knowing our imperfections to be real and the vulnerability we all have as people to make regrettable decisions...serves as a reminder that we sometimes create unnecessary sadness or suffering in the lives of the very people we claim to love. And knowing us to be more the same than different as people, the question should always be whether or not we can accept or handle what it is that others will introduce into our lives. There is no such thing as a small moment of acceptance or understanding by those you hope to influence or in some way change when your goal is to lessen the divide of misunderstanding. However, the very change itself, which we look to pursue, will only come by way of our own example and acceptance of others.

I have often said that there is nothing wrong with not knowing. It only becomes a problem when you claim that you do. We’ve become people afraid of not knowing or simply being wrong, which makes our ignorance about having to be right so incredibly lethal in who it is we claim to be. Being right doesn’t just come with the assumed privilege of speaking. Being right comes with understanding the importance of your information and having the diplomacy of knowing the way in which your message should be shared with those in need of hearing it. It’s imperative to our individual stability, self-confidence and mental health, that we make the time to forgive and let go of the suffering and deep sadness within our hearts and that we do so honestly and with compassion for those that we believe contributed to this profound feeling. The depth of this acceptance will only find its truth while in reflection of self and in pursuit of our true purpose. It is equally important that we make the time to identify and remind ourselves of the actual difference we’ve already created in the lives of those we’ve shared our acceptance with.

I can say with great confidence that the change we want for the world will come slowly and will never be easy...but our measured success will be delivered in the unexpected reaction of acceptance. This most unexpected moment of acceptance will be provided through the very hearts of those individuals who we’ve helped to shape and to influence. The consideration of acceptance, which leads to learning, will only start happening when you’ve established trust and a safe place for it to begin. Ultimately, a readiness for compromise, through our willingness to first listen, is the very beginning and will aid in the creation of our much-needed change.

“Gratitude” the very essence of my soul and the foundation, freedom and inspiration of my personal thinking. Gratitude is that special type of appreciation shown by those who understand the importance of not ever forgetting the very things which changed their lives. I’m grateful to those who’ve made the decision to accept me for who I am...and in doing so, they also look to understand my true motivation and the things that matter to me in life... And for that, I'm grateful.  


Date: July 30th, 2023

The Road to Salvation

By Jordan Patterson

A broken soul in need of redemption on a treacherous path, marked by trials and tribulations. Many had faltered along the way, consumed by doubt and despair. But for those who persisted, their unwavering faith proved to be an anchor amidst the tempest, guiding them toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

As they journeyed onward, the weight of their burdens seemed to grow heavier, threatening to crush their spirits. With heavy feet I walked lost in the storm fearing that each step was dragging me deeper into darkness. The road ahead stretched out endlessly, winding through valleys of uncertainty and mountains of despair.

Needing the feeling of home and an experience of peace, they sought solace in the small gestures of kindness along the way - a smile from a stranger, a helping hand offered without expectation. They savored these fleeting moments of connection, using them as beacons of hope to carry them through the darkest hours.

Reminded when life brings you a storm, it is easy to lose sight of the road ahead, wandering lost in the unknown questioning whether it even exists. With the sun on my face I continue forward, determined to conquer the doubts that threatened to consume me.

With every hill was a mountain to climb, every obstacle a test of resilience, their faith grew stronger. With every breath, I fortified my resolve, summoning my inner strength to withstand the trials that lay ahead. But there, amidst the darkness, a flicker of hope remained, a glimmer that whispered of a journey towards healing and peace.

With unwavering faith I’m reminded that every setback was a test of resilience, challenging my commitment to the path I had chosen along the road to salvation.


Date: December 13th, 2023

Life, Learning, and The Need to Know

By Jordan Patterson

Early on, when I was a kid in search of the next great song and/or musical artist, I figured out that a majority of the information and learning needed was quite often hidden in the liner notes of the albums I purchased. It was this revelation and moment of learning that introduced me to the enjoyment of reading for the first time in my life and completely changed how I would thereafter make decisions related to the albums of musical artists that I would now search to learn more about.

This unplanned education and changed method in making musical purchases also inadvertently opened me up to learning about world history. In taking the time to read why and who it was that these artists or musical acts considered their influences or foundation of their self-creation, I suddenly found myself immersed, with an unforeseen path or book of instruction to global race relations, world history, and the associated politics that most certainly helped to start the musical conversation now being had in each song.  

This unexpected need-to-know suddenly took me around the world to new and different places in a way that classrooms were unable to do in my life. It not only gave me an appreciation for learning about the development of human culture but it did so in a language that I understood and it helped shape the beginning of what would become my perspective related to world issues and my concerns about varied types, levels, or areas of injustice. In retrospect, regardless of the geographical location of the story or where the artist was based or called home, it was the consistency and similarity of the stories being told, which unknowingly directed my life path toward the importance of a person’s integrity and personal character which I believed to be as they claimed to carry themselves.

In many ways, it even helped me to better understand and find my place in the public argument, fusing appreciation and the personal belief that my Momma, Nancy-Lou Patterson, tried to display in her steadfast credence about the importance of equality within world cultures; addressing that forever-long list of issues of race relations, the independence of freethinking and the must-have liberal acceptance within the world's various religions.

This unconventional path to buying albums not only gave me a greater understanding around the appreciation for music overall but the music I found myself listening to was no longer just straight-ahead blues...but a straight-to-the-vein euphoric addiction, disguised as a need-to-know, that would eventually morph into genres of Rock, Jazz, Soul, Country, various styles of Funk, Disco and even Gospel. And just like that, I’d created my love for learning...and this never-ending, never-slowing, need-to-know.

I’ve often wondered, when listening to music, if other musicians, artists or listeners ever experience the same instantaneous feeling of being at peace, that’s almost reminiscent of daydreaming; suddenly being able to see and feel the music as it runs throughout my entire body, which for me is always sure to be right in step with the introduction of some new and cool style of music I didn’t know of previously. 

It’s as if I’m immediately filled by a workable feeling of emotion...that now suddenly becomes part of my inner soul while it flows comfortably throughout, in reaction to the intensity of listening at that moment. Or quite possibly, it’s just me...and I could be completely wrong in my portrayal or understanding of how this individual experience affects others. Is it only myself that experiences this transformational moment of learning, which leaves me with improved self-confidence and this renewed feeling of having superpowers?

Nevertheless, I’ve at times found it, to some degree, frustrating to know the number of cool musicians or artists, who haven’t thought to look past that "moment of wow" when they’re listening to a particular artist/song/music. For whatever reason, they don’t see the significance of discovery in the actual musical journey which most likely took place in the creation of that melody or lyrical content which has now changed their lives forever. 

I’ve always felt that learning the importance of musical influences is best understood as a secret weapon of sorts. For me, this new way of learning allowed me to hear the music differently and to see how any number of amazing albums, when introduced to the world, completely changed the direction or shaped the sound of so many great artists and/or the albums they would eventually deliver.

When I sometimes listen to the music I’ve written or read the various story lines and personal life quotes that I openly share and are written about the various matters that hold interest or importance to me in my life, I say with great humility...that it’s in those moments that I’m quick to remember or remind myself just how nice it is to have created something that people respond to positively.

I’ve learned to never forget how their reaction has made me feel...and what I owe to myself as a creative artist to live deep within the reminder of that feeling and how I need to make sure that it finds its rightful place in my heart. It’s important for me to always remember that the very same space which now inspires my thinking was once filled with an ever-powerful and consuming fear of not knowing. 

The brilliant world of Music and Visual Arts is so incredibly diverse in its culture, infused by an unsegregated variety of ways to communicate, such as dance, literature, music, photography, sculpting, painting and even film and infinitely powered by this mixture of human emotion.  Most people don’t fully understand the amount of effort put forth to develop or design these various imaginative platforms that come to life, inspire thinking and if lucky, appeal to our human senses and provoke a positive reaction by those on the receiving end.

My Momma was a Fine Arts professor with an open mind and a vast interest in the human condition and world culture overall. Her need-to-know was powerful; the importance she put behind credibility was even greater and the depth of her wisdom was equal to the most brilliant sun. She loved the very things that made people and places special and lived with a keen interest and need-to-know about what inspired their thinking. 

She told me of the experience of working alongside her mother, who by chance was also an established artist and instructor in her own career, and how this guidance and early life experience helped mature my Momma's skills and further develop what would become her renowned ability to communicate the significance of her intended message as an artist and scholar. My Momma once told me that life was about knowing and not knowing...and how there were only three ways to communicate the importance of those essential elements in the description of the art. 

First, she said, there’s the creator or artist, who expresses imaginative, conceptual ideas or technical skills that bring their idea and/or vision to life, which is then presented as a piece or body of their work. It is an extension of them; it is who they are and it’s deeply personal.  

Secondly, there is the teacher, who inspires or explains through some level of auditory or visual instruction, about the history of the work itself and explains its style, while sharing its secrets and the significance or place it now holds within the genre or medium in which it compares or finds its acceptance within.  

And she said lastly, there’s the reviewer, who speaks or writes of its importance to the listeners or readers, along with the consumer who then excitedly tells all their friends about its comparable excellence to anything that has come before or might possibly someday follow. 

She explained how all three are equally significant to the creation, importance, promotion, or continued growth of the world arts community. I loved and lived for any opportunity to speak with my Momma or sit and listen to her explain the significance of something she felt I needed to know. Her explanation of significance was Godly in its design and her delivery never spared or withheld the very things which inspired her thinking. 

“Life is about 'Knowing and Not Knowing' Jordan...and you need to know which one you are. Are you the Artist/Creator, the Teacher or the Reviewer/Consumer?” She said, “Most people are only one...but some of us, as in you and I...we're all three.”


In Memory of my momma, Nancy-Lou Patterson (Sept 5, 1929 - Oct 15, 2018)

Date: September 4th 2023

A Spiritual Revelation Is The Evolution Of Me

By Jordan Patterson

A Spiritual revelation is the Evolution of me. It's a journey of self-discovery, where I unlock the deepest mysteries of my soul and unearth a newfound understanding of my purpose in life.

Through this revelation, I embrace the interconnectedness of all things and recognize that my existence is woven into the fabric of the universe, each action and each thought. It’s a transformation and journey towards a greater faith, sense of freedom and inner growth.

I delve into the realms of meditation and mindfulness, embracing the power of stillness and silence to connect with the divine energies that reside within me. At every breath, I feel the divine presence guiding me, whispering messages of wisdom into the depths of my being.

It’s my future, a daily conversation I’ve chosen to have with myself. In this ongoing dialogue, I explore the depths of my own beliefs and question the limitations I once imposed on myself. I wake up each morning, eager to embrace the infinite possibilities that lie ahead on my spiritual path.

Realising that true fulfilment comes from within, I let go of my attachments. I make time to breathe, and I find comfort within myself. As I sit in stillness, I feel the gentle embrace of silence. I listen intently to the whispers of my soul, as it guides me towards a deeper understanding of my purpose.

I can no longer be found in those places that don’t bring comfort to my soul. My yearning for love is both the beginning and end of each thought and conversation with myself. I know that my journey towards self-growth and evolution requires me to constantly reassess the relationships in my life.

In this process of self-evolution, I have learned to let go of external expectations and societal pressures. Instead, I focus on connecting with my own values and passions, forging my own path in life. With each step I take, I can feel the weight of judgement being lifted off my shoulders, replaced by a sense of freedom and authenticity.

A spiritual revelation is the evolution of me. It's a journey of self-discovery, where I unlock the deepest mysteries of my soul and unearth a newfound understanding of my purpose in life.


Date: September 18th 2023

Rest In Peace My Father, Mr. E Palmer Patterson II

By Jordan Patterson

E Palmer Patterson II
Born: 1927 - Died: May 2023

I just received a couple calls and text messages from old friends still living in my hometown letting me know that my father has passed away. As much as I wanted to hate the guy, the truth is that I loved my father. I think it’s difficult to not see it as sad news when most people have died, but honestly speaking, I’m not really sure how to feel about my fathers passing. All I know is that my hometown will always be a special place with the memories of my father alive in it.

My father and I were never close and as much as I loved him or wished he’d love me - he didn’t. My father made horrific decisions pertaining to my life. His parenting was even worse. It took a lot of time, money and much needed therapy for me to understand what caused me to live most of my life on a path of self destruction. I have never not been great at everything I tried to do in life. I live everyday with immense humility, and I have been blessed with the most incredible gifts, natural blessings that I shamefully lived most of my life destroying as if somehow being me wasn’t good enough or worthy of celebrating. This lack of self worth was once a most powerful feeling, a gift given to me very early on in life from my father.

Living life while wanting to be loved or needing to feel protected is a messed up thing for a child to figure out on their own. And seeking validation when you can’t find it consistently within your home is a dangerous cycle that’s brought me to my knees - a few times. It’s odd to say but I have no interest in tearing my father down; his life belongs to him as my life belongs to me. And the history of his actions or inaction pertaining to my life is real.

My father was a grown man who was good to many and not so good to some. He was a man with many secrets that I will forever hold close. He was a man who wanted to be seen as important but lacked humility. He was a man who made his own decisions and will now become something people talk about for the rest of their lives. And as much as I wish things were different, nothing I ever accomplished in my life met with my fathers approval. So, when I started down this path I was solely focused on getting justice and holding people in my life accountable for what happened to me or what I felt was wrong in my past life. But overtime my aunt Joan and a mental health professional got me to understand the freedoms I searched for would only become my reality by trying to make amends with people who mattered to me, and leaving the accountability of others to themselves.

It’s hard to explain but even though my relationship with my father was still strained, there’s a part of me that wishes he knew the end of my journey, will be filled with a sense of liberation and change. I've started to try and forgive those who had wronged me, and while it isn’t easy I understand that nothing worth having comes easy. It’s a process that’s taken work and courage, but now I’m finding peace in knowing that I'm not defined by other people’.

However it takes time to accept and doesn’t sound very rewarding, but neither does destroying your life, and inner-self by staying too connected to people, and things that are slowly killing you. Simply wanting to believe you can somehow fix what’s broken is a slow death, while cutting it loose is the hardest decision to make. But finding the strength to leave it behind is the freedom you need to love yourself, and start living life in full bloom.

It has taken a longtime but I believe that the key is having faith in myself. It's knowing that I have the power to make the necessary changes to create the life I want and love. None of this is easy and the fear is real. But it’s the next stage and an important part of the healing process, and there's people in my life, people I love, people who are in need of an explanation. But mostly, I want to free my soul while accepting accountability for my mistakes, and try to make an effort with people who actually matter to me.

But then again, it’s taken way longer than I had hoped. It’s been a hard lesson to learn. But I now know it’s important to just take the time to listen, and understand the other person’s perspective, to really listen, and process how we got to this place.

Life taught me a lot about my father. Mostly how to forgive and how to love the man.


Date: May 2023 

A Women's Understanding of Life

By Jordan Patterson

Some relationships are for a lifetime...and others are just long enough to remind you of the importance you play in each other’s lives. They arrive with perfected timing in what feels like a never-ending exchange of smiles, all in design of your mutual approval and shared principles. Then there's those other relationships that require just a feeling; it’s a feeling of immediate trust and in need of no greater approval than the exchange of words being spoken.

This picture is of me and my most glorious and terminally-beautiful Aunt Joan on my first of two visits, as a child, to see her at her home in Seattle, Washington. My Aunt Joan is my momma’s youngest and the last living of their four siblings...and even though we had thousands of miles with many years between visits, some relationships are just right and meant as a reminder of not only their importance, but of how things could have been if those relationships had not actually happened.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have an Aunt Joan or that person of most unexpected influence… well, I’ve learned to always have respect for those who know things, for those who’ve done some living and for those who actually care enough about you and know when and how to say, “Are you done?...because I love you and I’m your Aunt Joan and it’s time for you to listen.” Just like my momma, my Aunt Joan can create quiet when needed in a conversation between two people.

It’s that rarest of rare quality of human being...having the diplomacy and inner strength for listening and doing so kindly, without the need to be judgmental. You look up from the facedown, head-in-hands feeling of shame, to only ever find the consistency and the kindness of their smile, as you try to negotiate with the feelings of vulnerability created by the story or information their love has helped you find the strength to share.

Their personal design is unlike others; their importance to the world is greater than most, and their daily lift of life’s responsibilities is heavy...and long. So each conversation goes a bit deeper in its intended purpose and steers you towards that inner path of redemption, while helping to open your heart in a way that feels like a cleansing of the soul. They come with a sensitivity...with this innate willingness to care, while slowly empowering you to have the much-needed, hard conversations that others have spent a lifetime trying to avoid or have been afraid to address.

My Aunt Joan has unselfishly occupied that huge void left in my heart since the passing of my momma...who is so greatly missed. She’s helped me see things for what they are; she’s helped me to better understand the politics of fear within any and all families and, most importantly, she helped me to see who and what I am and where and how it is that I fit in moving forward.

And as all the great women do, she chose to do so with this most forgiving heart and an unbelievable amount of patience, exemplified in her “no-rush, no-hurry” willingness to listen, while still using that most incredible womanly gift of influence...planting the seeds of change to help me make sense and let go of a lifetime of fear, shame and the sadness that’s forever filled my heart.

Regrettably speaking, my Aunt Joan is now challenged with the negotiation of placement and what comes next in her life… when and/or how long she has is unknown to me. My Aunt Joan has not only changed my life but she told a family member recently, that my life was one of the responsibilities of her life. I’ve had some most incredible women come through my life, two of whom are my Momma and my Aunt Joan... and there’s another waiting for me back in Detroit!!...

I think sometimes people come into our lives hard and fast but do so to ensure that there’s no chance of ever forgetting their importance or the power of their love. Well, I love You, Aunt Joan!... Thanks for entrusting me with the secret of knowing what you do, because… It’s Real life and unlike others.

Forever thankful for the love, truly grateful.

Your nephew - Jordan Patterson

In memory of my aunt Joan Gellermann Seiler Nykreim (March 22, 1933 - July 2, 2022)

My Last Trip to the Cottage

By Jordan Patterson

It seems like it was just yesterday, when I stopped going to the cottage with everyone else. My family assumed that I had decided to stay away because I had just grown out of it and preferred to stay home, so I could throw one of my renowned parties. Their assumptions were just that, because the truth is, I didn’t go because I was in fear of my life. The terror and desperation I lived with, during our family vacations, are feelings that will be with me for the rest of my life.
The cottage, which had been designed as a sanctuary of peace and happiness, was a place I had always loved; that is, until it became the most dangerous place on earth for me. This was a place where I had spent much of my childhood running through sand dunes, soaking up the summer sun, laughing and making friends, and enjoying the sparkling, tranquil water of Lake Huron.
As the sun’s rays reflected and danced beautifully across the lake’s glassy surface, one day without warning, it became a menacing, watery pit that I came to fear and dread. Though I had been continually threatened at home by my abuser who also happened to be my older brother Llewelyn, this family setting was where I felt most at-risk. Stepping up his promises of drowning me, if I continued to join the family during our annual vacations, my abuser groomed me to believe that, if he ever caught me alone near the water and got his hands on me, he would kill me. 
No matter how hard I tried, I could never figure out what I had ever done for my abuser to harbour so much hatred toward me. Why did he enjoy hurting me so much? He didn’t have any qualms when it came to my personal torture. Every chance he got, he was bent on attacking my personal dignity and ruining my self confidence. Bullying and intimidating me became his personal enjoyment. To this day, I remain at a loss as to why he singled me out, during the majority of my childhood, to be his personal victim.
Early on, I believed and was convinced that he was extremely dangerous. I also knew, if given the opportunity, he would eventually make good on these threats; after all, my protection from him proved to be limited. His vast reach and persistence was a perilous combination and a certain detriment to my future.
True to my abuser’s word, the day my greatest fear came to life, I was enjoying a swim alone in the lake. As my head cleared the surface, I saw my abuser strolling casually along the beach, headed in my direction. Panic-stricken, my heart jolted and seemed to stop. Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I became completely still in the water.
I knew, right away, I was in a dire situation because I was swimming in a section of the lake, where it would have been impossible for me to touch the bottom, if he decided to come after me. Yet, with great hope, I floated motionless and waited for him to pass me by. Every second that I slowly drifted in the water, my abuser’s threats reverberated in my head; warning me never to swim alone and promising he’d drown me if he ever caught in the water unprotected.
The sadness I felt at that moment is indescribable. What should have been a fun and relaxing time in the water had become a moment of desperation. I was staring trouble in the face like never before. Suddenly, my life was on the verge of a potential struggle to defend myself against someone who had saw absolutely no value in me living. With every shallow breath I took, my life had been reduced to a dare to breathe underwater. 
I was fearful and consumed by my thoughts; would my sadness go unchallenged; would I be forgotten about and mean nothing to anyone as my body floated motionless in the water after his attack? My abuser hated me. He made sure I knew it through his continuous attacks and the psychological games he played on my confidence.
The minute he spotted me, he started running toward the water. My heart seemed to jumpstart and I began swimming as fast as I could, hoping to reach an area of the lake where my feet could touch bottom for support. I knew if that didn’t happen, my worst nightmare could likely become a reality. And though I swam for dear life and kept trying to feel the lake’s bottom, I realised the support I needed was nowhere to be found. 
My fear quickly turned to profound sadness as my abuser began wading out into the lake. Like a mouse trapped in a corner, I realised I had been caught, as he closed in on me. Seeing defeat as inevitable, I started to cry uncontrollably.

In seconds, my fight with my abuser began, when he grabbed me around my shoulders and started pushing me under the water. With no way to defend myself against his dogged attack, I struggled to breathe. My fear escalated as I gulped in air and then thrashed about, trying to replace the water with air.
I became consumed about what it might mean to die so suddenly. It overwhelmed my consideration for anything else. In fact, I had become a drowning victim before my abuser ever saw and caught me. I had already broken down mentally the minute I saw him on the beach, and he knew it.
The more I thrashed about, the more he seemed to enjoy his twisted game. He grabbed me by the throat and pushed my head under the water repeatedly. I fought desperately, trying to push my head up against the force of his hands. I gasped for air but, because he weighed nearly forty pounds more than me, I was just no match against his determined grip and evil intentions. 
I wondered if anyone could hear my screams and if they would come save me. Yet, as I found myself getting weaker, somehow, I still had not given up the will to live. I told myself to breathe, fight and struggle. I reached out, clawing repeatedly at my abuser’s upper torso, hoping to be able to emerge above the water for air. When that didn’t happen, a combination of panic, tears, fear and losing my battle to keep my head above water, set in, and became lost in knowing I wasn’t strong enough to win. Though my defeat seemed inevitable, I just couldn’t see myself going down this way. It just didn’t seem fair.
Even as I desperately continued to kick and scream, and fight to keep myself above the water, my abuser laughed hysterically as if this was one big game to him. I was so exhausted until I could barely feel the pain that had come from my struggle. After years of torture, it suddenly appeared my final minutes on earth had boiled down to my abuser finally claiming my life.
Just when I was too weak to put up any further resistance and had accepted that I would succumb to his will, my abuser unexpectedly found himself in his own personal battle, when the oldest brother of the family, who had a nearby cottage jumped in the water and fought to pull him off of me.
“What the fuck are you doing? Are you fucking crazy,” he screamed at my abuser, while he was pulling me from the water to safety. Still gasping for air and totally beside myself, the older brother consoled me as we stood on the shore.
My abuser, on the other hand, too mentally deranged to feel defeated, simply paced around my rescuer and me, grinning like a maniac. Then as his adrenaline began to diminish, he hurriedly began walking back down the beach to the cottage, as though nothing had happened. It was a consistent trait in his behaviour; retreat to justify his side of the story to ensure his punishment, if any, would be based on something that I done wrong.
After the older brother repeatedly questioned me on our walk back to the cottage, he then gave an eye-witness account to my family of what he had seen occur in the water. I, however, just stood there feeling defeated and saddened by the further blows to my confidence. With my chest aching severely and my lungs full of water, I knew, without a doubt, that that would be my last trip to the cottage.


Date: August 26th, 2023

Hugs, Holding, and Hard Truths

By Jordan Patterson

I had my first official heartbreak when I was a kid in middle school grade seven. One day, I was in need of the one person who always loved me and would stop, talk and listen to whatever it was that I needed to discuss. I turned to my Momma to help explain what happened, and how to manage the breakup from my girlfriend and the overwhelming sadness that came with this new life experience.

In the beginning of my youth interest in girls, I was somewhat naïve, but nonetheless, sincere in my genuine like and appreciation of girls, having grown up surrounded by what seemed to be an endless number of world level females of greatness. However, as much as I looked forward to this new stage of life, I hadn’t considered the fact that the appreciation for me might actually come with an end date, leaving me stranded, standing alone wondering where did the love go. 
Well, on this day, in need of unquestionable help and immediate guidance on how to manage such an impossibility, my Momma and I sat across from each other in the kitchen. She listened to me described the end of the world and how nothing could ever be worse than this experience.

My Momma has changed many people’s lives and willingly accepted her responsibility to my family, as well as the responsibility she had to others within our community. For those who actually know my Momma and have had any kind of direct relationship with her, they would most definitely tell you of her immense kindness and consideration for all those in need. However, my Momma also has limited patience, and she deals with stupidity poorly, and because of the limitations of time in any one day, there have been moments when she needed you to get to the point, so she could solve the problem, and get on with saving the world.

As I sat across the kitchen and described my heartache and suffering, my Momma finally grew tired of listening, and like all problems, she needed this one to be solved. My Momma then said to me in a way that only she could do, she said, “Jordan, don’t you know that you’re sensitive and you're a lover. Jordan, don’t you know that it’s always going to be like this?” she then said, “Jordan, suffering comes with love, it’s never going to go away.”

As my Momma got up and walked away, I was left confused trying to understand anything good in her shared message, wondering what happened to me being cuddled and trying to figure out at what point she would give me a hug to make me feel better. I now realise with a smile it was that day my Momma transitioned our love from hug’s and holding to hard truths. Hard truths or not, life has never been better explained to me and or had more meaning than how my Momma chose to deliver her life messages. They might have at times come with a stiff delivery, but you couldn’t question the intent or love from the person who delivered the message.

Nancy-Lou Patterson… Mother, Wife, Leader, Listener, Educator, Kind Person, and Loyal Friend. One of the many great women who handle the weight of wearing the crown.

Date: December 6th, 2023

Why I Love Thanksgiving

By Jordan Patterson

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it’s my most favourite of holidays. I so loved as a little person watching my momma and our housekeeper Ms. Serse, prepare all the food. I wasn’t exactly sure why but this day was different. I could feel it as a little kid. There was a spectacular vibe. Something in my heart told me that this day really mattered.

I remember both my Momma’s and Ms. Serse had this energy; it was a feeling of urgency for the delivery of this meal. I wasn’t sure why but this day was special. It was unlike others and made up of all the delicious foods that I loved. Turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cornbread, squash and of course brussel sprouts. These two women raised me. I loved them so much. They were the foundation for everything in the beginning of my childhood and early life. There wasn’t a moment in my life where they didn’t make me feel loved.

Their appreciation of me came with a continuous flow of kisses. They couldn’t stop, they couldn’t stay away, this was our routine, it was their everyday love for me and easy to get used to as they quickly held my cheeks, and kissed me just walking past my chair. I loved them so much they always made me feel lucky as they’d allow me to sit quietly on the kitchen chair next to the radiator by the window as I watched the two of them prepare to change the world.

It was like having front row seats. I'd spend the whole time smiling while tasting and sampling food and every so often one or both would look at me with a wink of their eye to acknowledge the importance of this day and their presence in the moment. I’m not sure about the home experience of others. But, this experience had me feeling pretty sure both my Momma and Ms. Serse had superpowers. I even looked for problems in the plan but found nothing. All I knew was that this wasn’t an everyday type of magic and they both had it.  

One year my momma had me take an envelope to a family who lived a few blocks from my parents home. Being a child I had no idea what it was but I knocked as instructed and handed the envelope to the father when he answered the door. Then I turned around, got on my bike and headed back home.

It blew my mind for a short moment when I saw that family arrive to spend thanksgiving with my family. I remember thinking I’d figured out one of my Mommas secrets. Holding my breath. That moment left no questions. I knew my mommas was magical with her slight smile and raised eyebrow. That was my momma’s special look. It was her signal to me. I loved my momma. She wasn’t about bragging but that was her special look. It was just between the two of us. This quiet reminder of me knowing about her superpowers and special style of magic.

Thinking of her makes me laugh. There are so many stories between the two of us. I'm the keeper of a forever list of different life moments where my momma felt the importance of sharing things that would completely change my thinking. I love Thanksgiving because Momma told me as a child that there was no better way to show your acceptance of others than to have them walk through your front door and take a seat at your table.

My momma was real life. She was a heavy lift. She told me to never allow others to pick my friends. “It’s your decision Jordan, it's a power that belongs to you. And people need to know that they matter.”

Stay safe and be well during this time of reflection. And here’s wishing you and your families a most wonderful Thanksgiving.


Date: November 22, 2023