“This is where your love is going” | Maya's Gifts

“This is where your love is going”

Yes!  That’s it!  My friend understood me, and she got it!  Let me wind the tape back for a minute to put it in context.  Mathew and I have been devoting much time to The Maya Gold Foundation.  This has not been the work of Mathew and me alone; that’s for sure!  It is really quite remarkable to witness all that the Foundation has accomplished in just over two years.

Frequently, when talking about the work of the Maya Gold Foundation, kind and generous people respond, “it’s amazing how you have turned your grief into something so meaningful.”  We hear, “wow, look at all the good that has come from your tragedy.”

I know in my heart of hearts that people really, truly mean well.  But they don’t get it.  How could they?  How could they possibly understand?  I get it.  I understand that from the outside, our work with teens both locally and in Nepal, seems to be a positive way to transform our grief.  That makes perfect sense.

When presented with this discussion (which happens frequently), I have wrestled with putting my feelings into words.  “No!” I feel like saying, “that’s not it!”  I don’t turn my grief into anything.  My grief is my grief.  I grieve fully.  Though the expression of grief will shift, I will carry it always. I can grieve and I can do good in the world.  I can do good in the world in Maya’s name.  That does not change my grief.  In writing these words, I sound angry.  I am not angry.  I just feel misunderstood.

When I was trying to explain this to one friend last weekend, who lovingly shared her wonder in using our grief to do something good, Susan was glad to hear my words.  She urged me to share my sentiments with others. “Elise, we don’t know!  I have worked in a prison for years, yet I don’t know what it is like to be imprisoned.”  I appreciated her encouragement.  So here I am sharing.  This is my truth.  Another mom whose fifteen-year-old daughter took her life may have another truth.

This evening, I had a conversation with a friend from childhood.  I let her know that we will soon be heading to Nepal.  We will bring 15 teens.  It had been Maya’s vision to reduce trafficking in Nepal, and yes, we are going in her name.  Thank you, Fran!  I felt as if you really understood me in your response, “this is where your love is going.”


Photo from a “Heart of Gold Adventures” preparation meeting.  Youth Ambassadors and their parents where present and all of the teens are getting ready for the trip next week.



  • Ah you! Again, your clarity and the honest courageous sharing of your messy and complicated and hard process.
    And then there is this:

    Thank you Maya.
    Thank you Elise.

    • Thank you, Pam!

      I too, am trying to sort this all out.
      We are all on this messy, complicated journey together after all, aren’t we?


  • Thank you Elise for clarifying this very tender point and calibrating it for all who love you.
    So “this is where” (perhaps Maya’s) love is going”, too? Because I see the work of the Foundation as her love in action.

    • Oh Lucy,
      How beautifully put.
      It is hard to separate. Likely, there is no need to separate.
      Maya’s love is inside of me (all of us).
      So, “this is where our love is going!”

  • Elise – A while back you helped me understand how my words, which were meant to support you and the Maya Gold Foundation, did not feel right and It is true that while I was saying them they didn’t feel right to me either but they tumbled out of my mouth anyway. The words were similar to the above examples and I thank you for taking the time to kindly point out to me how you felt and to do it again for all of us in this blog. Your love goes to many places and opens many hearts and minds…thank you!

    • Mary,
      Thanks for the feedback.
      The LAST thing I want to do is to have anyone tip-toe around and not speak their voice out of concern of saying the “wrong” thing.
      As I mentioned, I know in my heart of hearts that everyone is so well meaning.
      Thank you for your openness to hearing what works and doesn’t work for me, as I too, figure it out.
      No tip-toeing please!

  • Elise, Thank you for clarifying your feelings and experience. We can all learn something from this.
    Love, Claire

    • Betty,
      I have no choice but to delve the depths.
      It is in part because of you, that I am sharing with,”us.”
      Your encouragement inspired this blog.
      Thank you.

  • And this is why, I LOVE YOU❤️🙏🏼
    I am with you, Elise. We are all ONE heart, beating to the universal rhythm of Life and Death…. to the grand illusion of Both. Maya’s highest hopes, and dreams now exist within you. There is no separating one from the other. Blessings… I miss you. Mercedes

    • Thank you so much, Blaze!
      I often question, what needs to be shared and what does not.
      Yesterday, I met a woman whose daughter was tragically murdered in 1990.
      She has chosen differently regarding sharing. This choice serves her.
      I feel relief knowing that you listen with gratitude.
      Thank you again.

  • That is so right – This is where your love is going!
    Thank you, Fran.

    Love to you and everyone, Elise!

  • Grief authenticates the love. Do we not love so we do not grieve? No. And when we lose someone we love we don’t move on as if we’re leaving them on the side of the road as we continue on the journey. It is the wrong dimension. We don’t move on; we move out. Our tent is our life. As new people enter, as new memories are made, as we make new mistakes and gain new understanding, the tent gets larger. The people we love are always in our tent; always. They leave an indelible imprint on our souls. Our DNA is different because they are a part of us. When you go to Nepal to help those who cannot help themselves, you go as a mother who knows what it means to love a child. You are not allowing the grief to have the last word in defining your relationship with Maya in this life. You are a precious soul, Elise.

    • Dawn,
      I treasure these words.
      Each one of them.
      They are both jewels and medicine to my heart.
      Thank you and I love you,

  • My dear Elise: I’m so glad you expressed your feelings so others can understand. Nothing like communication among people for education and understanding.
    Much love

    • Dear Maxine,
      I know that you have taught me so much, too.
      Thank you for all of your support!
      Sending love,

  • Elise,
    Again, your words are clear and wise. Grief is grief.
    Miscommunication happens easily and quickly. Yesterday’s writing class was about choosing the right words and phrases to clarify meaning… “Do you really mean that?? How can you say what you mean?”
    I should spend more time with my students on this – they enjoy the deep ponder about words – and I should practice myself regularly.
    Vow: Speak carefully and truthfully, no slogans or catch phrases. I am likely guilty of “look at the good from grief” ; on the surface it sort of “makes sense” – in the same way that speaking about imprisonment without having served time can “make sense” or commenting on anything without having experienced it “makes sense.” Words and sentiments that are misguided. Not malicious, but not beneficial.
    Thank you SO much for sharing this today. What a wonderful reminder to me to: wake up! Again!

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thank you. Yes, “grief is grief.” You may have read in another post a while back the term that people use, “how are you working through your grief?” Again, all well meaning. But for me, “working through” connotes getting to the other side. As we know, with grief, there is no other side.
      I am smiling Nancy at all of your, “should’s.” The truth is, we are simply human! We mean well, and we make mistakes. I surely do! As I mentioned to Mary somewhere in this thread, the last thing I want is for people to not want to speak out of fear of saying the wrong thing. I am glad that people are so receptive and can grow along with me in this. I wasn’t given a handbook on this one either, and I too, am figuring it out!
      Please let me know of the lessons you teach your classes and how they respond.
      Thanks again!

  • I, too, had been viewing it simplistically. But of course your grief is its own thing that cannot be transformed. Thank you for explaining so well.

    • If I weren’t in this situation, I too, would likely view it “simplistically.” We weren’t given the manual. That’s in part why I am writing my manual, as I’m living it.

  • I am content in knowing , my mom is watching out and feeling Maya’s presence …it makes me smile.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Subscribe Here

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 611 other subscribers