My mom came to visit me in Italy twice, once in my first year to try to convince me to come home and once in my last year to celebrate my graduation. After her first trip, she began calling me her Italian Daughter.
When she would visit, we had the same traveling style: busy busy busy - tasting culinary delights, visiting cultural hubs, embarking on walking trips and ending our days with live music or a drink. We loved taking it all in and than feeling as if we needed another vacation after the actual vacation. Even when she was sick, she yearned for beauty, exploration and wonder. Curiosity keeps the cat alive!
One night, we were walking around Venice, exploring the different Piazzas, and I decided that I wanted to take her to the very famous, Hotel Danieli. When we opened the big kingdom like doors, we entered another era, a more glamorous era, or perhaps another realm, a more heavenly realm. The chandeliers and the mirrors created as much light as their must be above the clouds, the chairs seemed as if they had been made for a Persian Palace and the musicians were playing music fit for a king and a queen. And that is what we were that night, well almost, 1 Queen and 1 Princess.
We sat in the salon and decided to order my Grandma’s favorite cocktail, a chocolate martini! Yup, there we were, in our big poofy jackets sitting on $1000 chairs, listening to music from the angels, drinking chocolate martinis. My mom and me.
As we allowed ourselves to be swallowed into the era of elegance, we chatted about life. Mother and daughter, friend to friend, soul to soul. My mom and I had a way of connecting that went beyond the mother-daughter paradigm. After a moment of silence, I asked her what it felt like to be sitting with me in this fabulous hotel drinking her mom’s favorite cocktail. And she said, “It feels almost like heaven.”
Heaven is a martini in a hotel with your daughter. Heaven is music, light and love. Heaven is simple.
My mom taught me many things but one of the most important lessons that I learned from her was the power of being fully, completely, absolutely present - the power of bringing heaven down to earth. Even though we didn’t get to spend so much time with one another (she was a Doctor who worked full time), when we were together, I felt seen, heard and loved. I felt safe.
I once heard that G-d is found between people. So who you surround yourself by impacts the version of G-d that you experience.
With my mom, G-d was love. Ever since my mom died, I have tried to cultivate this same feeling with others, but the truth is, no two relationships are alike. However there is something that remains from the connection. Whenever we interact with someone, we get to take a piece of their energy and share it with others, and I feel blessed to have had 25 years to gather up the love and goodness and kindness of my mother's soul.
May we all be blessed to surround ourselves by people who make us feel loved and inspire us to make others feel loved too
And may we all find a little piece of heaven on earth.