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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Ever Think You Might Receive a Letter from Heaven?

[A copy of the new book A Chronicle of Grief is going to Cynthia S of DeSoto, TX, whose name was drawn from those leaving comments after my July 9 post When the Unthinkable Happens.]


Have you ever longed for a letter from Heaven?

I got one this week.

When the three of us moved into our new home in the Smokies two years ago this month, the space Mom was most excited about was not her spacious main floor bedroom with attached bath, or her cozy sitting room with TV in one corner, reading chair in another.

The space she delighted in showing guests instead was a walk-in closet with bifold doors that we converted into a little office for her use. Her desk fit snugly on one side, bookshelves on the other. When company arrived, Mom could simply close the doors on her paperwork.

That little office is now mine. I wish it wasn’t. I miss its former occupant even more acutely than when she passed away seven months ago only six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. While I’m thankful Mom is not living through Covid-19, the irony of that statement clutches at my heart.

Compassionate friends who have also lost a mother warned me that grief is not a linear event: the shock of loss followed by gradual acceptance. Searing pain giving way to subtle ache.

“Grief is not, as I thought, a state, but a process. Like a walk in a winding valley which gives you a new landscape every few miles.” C. S. Lewis

For the believer in Christ, death is a paradox. We are at once bereft in our bereavement while simultaneously grateful that our loved one is no longer suffering. We want them here with us. We are glad they are there with Him.

“All great truths are paradoxes. We are all both together and alone. Time is everything and nothing. Life is joyous and life is tragic. The Cape of Good Hope and the Cape of Storms are literally and figuratively the same place.” – Mary Pipher, Women Rowing North

When I talk with God, I ask him to pass along messages to Mom. I like to think there is still some way to communicate with her.

There is no theological basis for this. The veil between earth and heaven, while thin, is intact. There is no seeing through, no intergalactic communiqués, no divine dispatches. The grown woman knows this.

The orphaned daughter does not. Her mother was the best in her. Who is the motherless child when the better part of her is missing?

So I fold back the doors to her office, now mine. I sit in her chair, type at her desk. But the wounds of loss are too fresh during those first months to open the drawers and rifle through all the personal documents she left so meticulously organized.

Until that day that I reach for a fresh pen only to find a half-sheet of paper tucked into her address book. It’s unsigned, but typed in the distinctive font Mom used.

It’s my letter from Heaven.

No wonder Mom put it with her address book.


Maggie's first book, This Life We Share, has just released. If you're reading it, would you be so kind as to leave a brief review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Goodreads? Ratings and reviews help readers discover new titles and get the book into more hands, minds, and hearts. Thank you.



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