Journalist Maria Shriver has been serving as interim co-host on Today with Hoda and Jenna (also known as “the Fourth Hour of Today“) while Jenna Bush Hager is on maternity leave. Viewers have responded positively to the former first lady of California’s rapport with Hoda on the program in Hager’s absence.
Shriver became emotional on the morning show this week, discussing her evacuation from her home in California during the recent wildfires that are raging in the area. Find out the one precious item Shriver grabbed when she was told to evacuate, as well as her thoughts on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Shriver’s thoughts on Thanksgiving
Family is important to Shriver, and the holidays even more so, as they are a wonderful opportunity to gather her large clan together. Shriver shared her thoughts on the upcoming holiday.
“I always write about Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday because it doesn’t involve gifts,” Shriver told People last week. “It involves kind of this shared sense of family, this larger sense of family. … It’s just kind of deeper and quieter and people are talking and connecting.”
“I have four brothers, so I always have to get at least one of my brothers to come. That’s important to me because we used to always go home to my parents, when they were alive, in Washington. … My brother Bobby will come with his family, so that makes me feel, you know, grounded and protected.”
The recent loss of her cousin
The holiday season may weigh even more heavily on Shriver this year after the tragic passing of her cousin, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, in August. Hill passed away at the age of 22 after an accidental overdose.
Her cousin’s passing shook Shriver to the core. As she wrote at the time in her online newsletter, Sunday Paper, “I sobbed for my cousin. I sobbed for all those who are suffering. I sobbed for my own grief, sadness, and fears. I thought I was done grieving the death of my mother, my father, my uncle, my marriage, and my old identity — all of which unfolded in rapid succession over the last 10 years — but turns out, I wasn’t.”
“I thought I was done grieving my youth, my children moving out, past mistakes, unrequited loves, etc., but turns out, I wasn’t. I wasn’t done with grief, and it wasn’t done with me.”
What Shriver took with her during wildfire evacuations
On Today this week, Shriver spoke of her recent evacuation, with thousands of other California residents, during the ongoing wildfires. It wasn’t the first time the journalist has been evacuated from her home due to wildfires. She was also forced to evacuate in 2017.
At that time, she wrote in Sunday Paper, “My heart beat fast as I grabbed the notes and cards my kids had written to me, which luckily I keep in a bag next to my bed. I grabbed their school drawings off the wall and threw them in my car. …something from each of my parents. …some other family photos and a few other items from people I love.”
“I didn’t grab a single bag or piece of clothing, although my daughter did grab one purse that my mother had given me. In that moment, when it felt like I had everything to lose, nothing else mattered.”
And that’s exactly what the 63-year-old mother of four chose to take with her in the terrifying call to evacuate: her bag of notes from her four kids. It’s all that mattered at that moment in time.
Read more: Is The Kennedy Family Really Cursed?