Whoopi says she and her mother talked on the phone every day before her death. "My mom was unlike anybody else that I've known," Whoopi says. "She truly believed that she was okay being herself. She always passed that on to me. She never said bad stuff or mean stuff."

Even though Emma has left this earth, Whoopi says she still feels her mother's presence, which helps her manage her grief. "I keep waiting for that moment where you fall down on the floor and moan and roll around," she says. "But we also know that she'd come back from the dead and go, 'What are you doing?'"

To this day, Whoopi values the lessons her mother taught her, including to be herself and speak her mind. "She always said: 'Not everybody's going to get it. A lot of people are not going to like that you are an individual,'" Whoopi says. "'It's okay to have opinions as long as you don't put down somebody else's opinion.'"


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