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‘I wish Heaven had visiting hours’: A Mother’s Day letter from Roma Downey

Roma Downey
Roma Downey shares stories from "Box of Butterflies," 2018. |

Hello dear friends,

Mother’s Day rolls around again and it’s always such a sweet holiday but for those of us who have lost our moms, it holds a hint of melancholy as well. For it brings a fountain of fond loving memories from my early childhood. The sweet days of youth spent with my beloved mother Maureen O Reilly before her passing one week before my eleventh birthday.

As our children grow, wings spread wide and the world better for it, we too get a new season of adventure and purpose—not only as mother’s but friends, mentors, bold advocates and carriers of change for the good.

It also reminds me of the joy and love shared during my years on Touched by an Angel and after with my beloved adopted mother Della Reese who, as many of you know, passed away just 18 months ago. Loving both of them filled my heart and enriched my life and I will always be grateful that we had time together as their love shaped the woman that I am today.

I sometimes wish heaven had visiting hours. I’d be able to pop over there to see them both with two big bunches of flowers, one for each of them. I don’t know what the afterlife will look like but I love to imagine the two of them sitting in a garden laughing and telling stories to each other in heaven. The thought of that makes my heart glow.

As I sit here now, with my cup of tea next to me, I find myself thinking about mothering, being a mother and all that it means to give of oneself so selflessly. While I no longer have a mom, I am a mom. I am blessed with the most beautiful daughter Reilly who soon will turn 23 and she is such a gift of love in my life and a source of so much joy. I also have two fine stepsons James and Cameron, who I have had the privilege to co-parent since they were little boys and I have watched them grow into fine young men. I love all my children and I am proud of each of them.

Throughout the years, my mothering has changed as they have grown to adulthood—as their need of me has changed too. It can be hard for moms when our role as a mother changes. It can be painful to have your children grow up and not need you in the same ways anymore. But rather than focus on what is lost I prefer to see what is gained and am grateful for all of it.

I am learning to adapt, letting go a little and being grateful when Sunday’s roll around and everyone gathers around the table under the tree for a family lunch together. Lively conversation between healthy adult children, hearing all about their hopes and dreams. Children grow up and leave that’s what they are supposed to do.

I am also learning to be a better mother to myself. To practice self-care and self-nurturing in new ways. Remembering what they always say on a flight before you travel, if needed take your oxygen first that way you can be of better help to your family. So, as Mother’s day approaches. Learn to be a better mother to yourself. We do so much for so many take a little bit of time for yourself because you are worth it! Learn to honor well your selfless heart as it finds its way into deeper rest, into deeper peace and into deeper dreams. As our children grow, wings spread wide and the world better for it, we too get a new season of adventure and purpose—not only as mother’s but friends, mentors, bold advocates and carriers of change for the good.

Let’s never stop being the motherly example and comfort our children need, but let’s also not forget to be children ourselves, daring to see the world for the endless blessings, beauty, adventure and love that it has to offer.

LightWorkers’ mission is to create engaging, uplifting and inspirational content that breaks through the clutter, building a community of sharing and igniting a movement in the real world that motivates people to celebrate and share the good all around them.

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