The healing power of books

by Maryann Ridini Spencer

In October 2014 I learned the devastating news that my mother was suffering from a massive brain tumor. Doctors gave her six to eight months to live. As it turned out, we celebrated for six weeks with family and friends, enjoying dinners and the most beautiful moments together. She died on November 25, 2014.

Although she lived a long life — she was in her 80s — I was deeply affected. As I discovered, no one knows what it’s like to lose a parent until they have that personal experience. You can sympathize with people, but until it happens to you, there are no words to describe the depth of what you feel. Thankfully, there were no words of love that weren’t shared over and over again with my mother.

To help heal, I turned to reading books of a spiritual nature, an activity that kicked into full swing a few days after my Mom’s funeral. Books such as Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander, Raymond Moody’s Life After Life, Judith Marshall’s My Conversations with Angels, Theresa Caputo’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, and There’s More to Life Than This, and the Bible, have provided me with comfort and affirmation beyond words.

I was in the midst of writing “Lady in the Window,” a novel about family and healing when my dear mother passed. I poured my heart into my work, drawing from some of my experiences and observations, and family home in Hawaii. In the book, my main character Kate experiences a series of events that turn her life upside down.

When she retreats to Hawaii to welcome the land and its beauty into her healing process, angelic and other worldly occurrences transpire that are too poignant to ignore, which ultimately lead her to her destiny and provide proof that our loved ones live in spirit and surround and guide us. A belief I hold to be true.

To this day, in addition to finding great comfort in reading and praying, I also find solace in life’s synchronicities or “signs.”

Shortly after my Mom passed, my sister and I decided to dine out for breakfast. Driving around looking for a venue and busy in conversation about Mom, we turned into the parking lot of what looked like might be an eatery without even taking note of the name. When we finally looked up at the sign, we turned to each other at the same time in complete awe. “Sweet Momma’s Good Kitchen” was the name and the sweet retro-looking woman with a short dark bob pictured on the logo was an absolute cartoon version of our mom if there ever was one! We both felt chills. Sweet Momma was a name we often called our Mom. It was no accident that we just happened to land at Sweet Momma’s; it was our sweet Momma letting us know that she was with us and that she would be with us always.

Maryann Ridini Spencer is a local author of the Lady in the Window (SelectBooks), a new novel sold at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, which captures Aloha Magic, Hope, Healing & the Infinite Mother-Daughter Bond. Please visit her website at

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