Family / The House Project

A Message from Heaven

Since I started cleaning out the house back in November to begin my long-drawn-out saga of renovations (stay tuned, it’s almost done!), I’ve uncovered many treasures. I’ve found everything from old family photos and baby books to greeting cards and letters to antiques from my grandfather’s old general store and butcher shop; I even found locks of my Mama’s hair from when she was a little girl, but there was one very simple thing I found that reached right out and grabbed me by the soul. It was a piece of paper, a torn, yellow Post-it note stuck to the green lamp on my mother’s desk. It was a message from heaven.

As I was plowing through never-ending clutter, to make way for the renovations to begin, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of papers and knick knacks my sweet Mama held onto, there was a moment where I felt utterly and completely defeated – okay, there have been many of those moments throughout the process and I’m sure there are many more to come, but this moment was a defining moment.

A conversation with myself ensued, along the lines of “what was I thinking, buying a house all on my own … you can’t do this … you can barely take care of yourself!” My heart ached, my head spun, and all I could do was cry. I sobbed for the loss of my mother, the loss of my father and all the responsibilities I’d gained with those way too early, completely unfair, life-changing losses. Sadness, frustration, confusion and anger that had built up inside me let loose like water breaking through a dam and traveled from the tips of my fingers, the tips of my toes, the pit of my stomach, and the hole in my heart to explode in the form of tears.

Then, I looked up, and there it was. The torn, yellow Post-it note with a message in my beautiful Mama’s Catholic school girl handwriting.


It was a message from heaven. It didn’t stop me from crying, but it changed the source of my tears. This message was meant for me; it was sent for me at precisely the right time. Whether she’d written it down years before after hearing the line on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or delivered it from heaven above that day, she knew exactly what I needed, just like she always had.

I keep that message from heaven in my wallet, stuck to the back of my driver’s license so that it is always a part of me. Now that the house is almost finished, I plan to frame and place it somewhere I’ll see it each and every day. Because sometimes it’s the things that we fear the most in life that we actually need the most.

4 thoughts on “A Message from Heaven

  1. Ally, what a lovely post. Hang in there, as the home ownership thing is a wild ride. I did it for 6 years as a single female and learned many lessons, but it will only serve to make you stronger in the end. Congrats on being a home owner. We should meet up for celebratory beer one night at the Peekskill Brewery when your renovations are done 🙂

  2. Hi Ally. you’re right – you write great. Just as a very minor coincidence, I have a sign in my kitchen that says: “Always do what you are afraid to do”. It’s not a message from heaven (or from my dear deparated mom)…it’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson and he probably wasn’t thinking of me or Oprah when he wrote it. But it gives me courage with my coffee – every day. I guess, we all need some fear to keep us going.

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