‘Today Show’s’ Maria Shriver Shares Her Grief of Losing Family Member Saoirse Kennedy Hill in a Moving Essay

Maria Shriver, a frequent contributor on the Today Show and NBC News special anchor, recently opened up about finding inner peace during a time of family loss. She shared her thoughts in her newsletter, “Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper.” The piece was written shortly after the death of Shriver’s cousin’s daughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill.

NBC News’ Maria Shriver | Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

A tragic death

According to Today.com, the 22-year-old Hill, was found dead on August 1 at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. She was the granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy and former New York senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Though there have been reports of the cause being a drug overdose, it has not been confirmed.

In a statement to NBC News, the Kennedy family said that Hill “lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit. We will love her and miss her forever,” as reported by Today.com.

Hill was the only child of Robert Kennedy’s daughter, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill. The 22-year-old was a student at Boston College for communications, and had admitted to struggling with depression in the past. Her passing is just one in a long line of tragic deaths in the Kennedy legacy.

Grieving the loss

After Hill’s passing, Shriver took some much-needed time off to give herself time to heal and reflect. “I find it ironic that my August break started with a death. I took it as an invitation to delve into what felt dead and lifeless inside of me,” Shriver wrote in her newsletter, according to Today.com. “You see, we can all walk around seemingly alive but feel dead on the inside. We’re all running around doing things that bring us no joy or meaning. We stay in jobs, relationships, or situations well past when we should, incorrectly believing that life doesn’t have more in store for us.”

Shriver wrote of personally wrestling with the grief she felt at the loss of her family member, and the tragedy her cousin was having to go through of losing her daughter. “As I sat with my thoughts, I found myself furious at God for taking my cousin Courtney’s only child away. It doesn’t get any more brutal than that, as many parents know all too well,” she shared.

The journalist also commented on Hill’s search for peace which was never attained, and how the young girl would have marveled at the outpouring of love that was shown after her death. “I thought back to my cousin’s daughter,” Shriver wrote. “I’m sure she would have been stunned to hear all the incredible things that were said at her funeral. It would have stopped her cold to realize how loved she was. I’m sure it would have been a huge relief for her to feel her worth. Yet, it was only in death that she found stillness.”

Shriver’s losses over the past decade

Shriver has had a great deal of loss in a short amount of time, including her marriage to actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I think what happens very often when you go to a funeral or when someone around you experiences a loss, your own loss pops up and you realize as I wrote in the piece that grief is not done with me,” she said on the Today Show. “In the last 10 years I lost my mother, my father, my uncle, my marriage, my whole identity, and I hadn’t updated my narrative to who I am today. I think updating your narrative, seeing yourself as enough, not being so hard on yourself, not driving yourself, not being in the negative self-talk is so important because the world does that to you.”

The NBC News correspondent stressed the importance of self-acceptance, and taking the time to positively reflect on one’s life. “I’ve spent so much time trying to fix myself, only to now realize that I’m already whole,” she wrote. “On that mountain, I came to realize that I was already lovable. I was already loved unconditionally by God and by myself.”

Viewers can see Shriver on NBC News and subscribe to her “Sunday Paper” newsletter.