A Message From My Mother That I Will Cherish Forever

Dedication Of The Rose Kennedy Greenway

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.

[10 Easy Spring-Cleaning Decorating Resolutions]

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.

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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.

[Watch a clip of the ESPN 30 for 30 Brave in the Attempt on Eunice Kennedy Shriver] 

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.

[Read the MariaShriver.com Grief Series]

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 healingI 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.

[Read more of Maria’s ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essays]

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. 

#PassItForward

About the Author

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Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today. Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation's premier forum for women, The Women's Conference. Shriver's work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution. Like her page on Facebook or follow her on Instagram.

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