I had the great pleasure to know Geraldine Ferraro, the first female major party vice presidential nominee, who died Saturday.
We met during the writing of my 2006 book "Always Too Soon," which chronicles the stories of prominent people who have lost both parents. Ferraro lost her father when she was 8 years old.
She was exceptionally generous with me, and never wavered in her enthusiasm for my project. In the most personal way imaginable, her outlook changed my life.
Ferraro talked about the death of her father and how it shaped her life and her nomination for U.S. vice president. During our time together, she discussed other private matters, including her diagnosis of multiple myeloma -- the blood disease that ultimately killed her -- and how she'd like to be buried and remembered.
Below are my favorite quotes, in Geraldine Ferraro's own words:
On being the first female nominee for vice president on a major party ticket:
"I really miss my father, but I don't think I would be the person I am today if he had lived. I don't think I would have been as strong or resourceful. I would have stayed in Newburgh, New York, and married somebody from West Point. I would not have become a prosecutor. I would not have been a congresswoman. I certainly never would have run for vice president of the United States. So, my father's dying, in a strange way, shows that good can come out of horrible things. My father's death made me stronger. When I got the nomination, I couldn't help but think of my father. He would have been stunned and proud."
On losing the nomination:
"Nobody had greater confidence in me than my mother. She always said, "My daughter is going to be famous." When Walter Mondale asked me to be his running mate, my mother was the first person I called after my husband. She was so excited. She thought that I could do anything. She was probably the only person in the country who was surprised that we didn't win."
On her mother's illness and her friendship with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:
In the summer of 1985, I was out on Fire Island for a weekend with Madeleine Albright, who was my foreign policy adviser on the 1984 campaign. We had become good friends. I got a call from one of my mother's neighbors at 2 o'clock in the morning. She said, 'Your mother is at the hospital. She's having trouble breathing.' Madeleine said, 'I'm going with you.' We went across the water in my son's boat. When we got to the hospital, the doctor told me that it was emphysema."