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Eunice Shriver and a daughter's public grief

October 28, 2009 | 12:12 pm

Shriver photo “Grief cracks your heart into little pieces,” said Maria Shriver, speaking a little more than two months after the death of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

California’s first lady stood before the annual Women’s Conference that she hosts in Long Beach and told attendees yesterday that “my mother’s death has brought me to my knees.”

The “extraordinary evocation of grief” brought “thousands to tears,” wrote The Times’ Cathleen Decker.

Shriver said her mother was “my hero, my role model, my very best friend. I spoke to her every single day of my life. I tried really hard when I grew up to make her proud of me.”

Just before her mother died, Maria Shriver said she asked her to “send me signs from time to time, so I know you are OK.”

The day after her mother’s funeral Shriver received one of those signs, she said, in the guise of a former nun who gave her prayer cards from Mother Teresa, a friend of Eunice Shriver’s. The former nun, fully clothed, then waded into the ocean, just as her mother often had.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Eunice Shriver with her daughter Maria in 2005. Credit: Reuters