Alexis Bellino is remembering her late mother ... by getting a passage from her mom's journal tattooed near her boobs.
The 'Real Housewives of Orange County' alum tells TMZ ... her new ink reads "dying is a different way to live" ... it's something her mom once wrote in a diary.
Alexis tells us her mom, Penelope, died from a rare brain disease in August ... and 5 days before she died, the family found Penelope's personal journal and went through it.
One passage stuck out to Alexis ... her mom's thoughts about death.
The journal excerpt reads ... "Why is death feared? Is it any different than going to bed at night and then waking up in the morning? Close your eyes one minute and open them the next to a different reality. We so trust waking up. We trust waking to the same reality. But everything changes ... could dying be a different way to live? Dying is a different way to live."
Alexis says when she read the "dying is a different way to live" concept, it felt like her mom was speaking to her directly ... and she wanted it somewhere on her body.
Well, Alexis followed through ... she went to a tattoo parlor Wednesday and got the phrase inked over her ribcage, just below her boob.
Alexis says a friend recommended tattoo artist Dillon Giarraffa, and she's thrilled with the outcome ... telling us he nailed her mom's handwriting. She says the whole process took about 2 1/2 hours and she could feel her mom's energy while she was getting inked.
AB tells us she and her mom are soulmates and while she's still in mourning, the tattoo makes her feel like her mother is with her all the time.