The other day I was going through my books. I’m desperately trying to follow Marie Kondo’s advice in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and only keep things in my home that spark joy.
I started with books. I love books. I also love photos of people I love, and I admit I have too many of both. Kondo says leave the photos for last, which I intend to do.
So I’m going through my books, donating this one and that one and all of a sudden I come to one that I open and see it’s inscribed to me from my mother. Many of my books are from my mother but this inscription stopped me and made me burst into tears. Why? Because I know what she wrote here is true.
I have no doubt that my mother loved me here on earth but she was tough, relentless and driven. She showed her love by pushing you and driving you forward. There is no doubt on my mind that she wanted to love me and others in a gentler way, but she wasn’t raised like that. So to see her handwriting, to see her message to me these many years later tells me that truth: she can love me more from heaven where she is free to love in a different way.
My mother died almost seven years ago. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t miss her, where I don’t want to talk to her about something. Finding this book with her message in it made me feel connected to her in such a beautiful, profound way.
Grief and grieving is such a personal experience. It’s a journey into unknowing, into faith, into letting go and acceptance. It’s hard. At least it’s been hard for me.
I’ve written about grief quite a bit as I’ve struggled to make sense of it. In fact, the first book I ever wrote was a children’s book about grief, death, heaven and the questions a child has about it all. They are the same questions we have as adults, yet we don’t often create an open space to talk about such pain in adulthood.
Ironically, this week on MariaShriver.com we launched a series on grief with the mission of bringing light and healing to anyone grieving. In reality we are all grieving. We just do it in different ways.
The truth is, all week long I was wondering how I was gong to write a message for this Sunday Paper that would contribute to our discussion about grief, loss and healing. I couldn’t figure out how to start it and then I opened my book. A book that I had stashed away. A book that had a message of love from my mother to me that was in my home all along. Now it’s in my heart forever.
I’m grateful I started tidying up and I’m grateful I looked at each book before just throwing them out. If I hadn’t, I would have missed one of the most profound messages I’ve ever been given from my mother. That I can be and am loved from heaven and on earth. Wow.