When my maternal grandma died a few years ago at 93, I wasn’t sure if I should fly home for the funeral. I hadn’t been particularly close with her, although I had plenty of pleasant memories of arriving at her house on a holiday, the air heavy with the aroma of homemade pies.

She had lived her own remarkable life and she had always been kind to me. Yet last-minute airfare was steep, so I hesitated to say yes. Tossing this around with my sons over dinner, Jackson said, “I know when my grandma dies, I’m going to the funeral. I like her.” Sometimes it really is that simple.

I bought my ticket but by the time I arrived into the Cities, I hadn’t yet talked with my parents.

“Do Mom and Dad know you’re coming?” Jeff asked when he picked me up at the airport.


“Well then let’s surprise them.”

We arrived at my parents’ house late, after bedtime, and tucked ourselves into beds downstairs. The next morning, the morning of my grandmother’s funeral, I smelled coffee and heard movement upstairs. I walked into the kitchen where my parents were making preparations for the day. When they saw me, after doing a short double take, they both jumped up and hugged me with tears in their eyes.

Over the years, there have been lots of tears in my family. Some have been hard, but some have also been soft. The Guide says our hard tears are caused by our resistance, and our soft tears flow when we let go. The soft ones are what keep me coming back, praying for one more drop of healing.

The next stanza from the poem by Antonio Machado, at the start of this book, goes like this:


  I love Jesus, who said to us:
heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my words will still remain.
What was your word, Jesus?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were
one word: Wakeup.

May we all keep waking up and finding more love.

—Jill Loree

[From my mom’s letter: Jill, you are a beautiful woman, very intelligent, determined, and creative. I hope, by the grace of God, that you can forgive all the hurts I’ve placed on you and that time will bring us closer. I’ve always loved you, Jill. And, always will.]

Walker: A Spiritual Memoir by Jill Loree

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