There it was again—that annoying message from Gmail: Your storage is almost full. Gmail requires storage to let you send and receive mail. To continue using Gmail, free up space or buy more storage.

I am a hoarder by nature. Whether utility bills, handwritten letters (remember those?) or my kids’ report cards, I find it awfully hard to part with things that I might one day need or that hold sentimental value.

Recently, I discovered that emails have joined the ranks of Items That Can Be Hoarded. I needed to actually go through my emails, decide which ones I want to part from forever and delete them.

But listen up, clutter haters and neat freaks: There are some pleasant ramifications to being a saver. Let me share a touching tale of Divine providence that came about as a direct result of my hoarding practices.

After my mother, may she rest in peace, passed away at a relatively young age, I felt the expected avalanche of emotionally wrenching feelings. Among the grief, loneliness and longing, I also felt terrible guilt for not being with my mother during the end of her life and in general for living so far away. I live in Jerusalem, and my mother lived in the United States.

Being that I live across a big ocean, have a number of young children and didn’t dream that the end was near, when I heard my mother wasn’t doing well, I made plans to visit her in a few weeks’ time when it worked out better for me and my family.

Well, a few weeks later was too late. Though she had been sick, the end came as quite a shock, and I didn’t make it to see her before she passed away.

During the first day of shiva, when the gravity of the loss hit me hard, I cried to a close family member, expressing my profound guilt for living so far away from my mother and for not being with her at the end of her life.

“But your mother was SO proud that you live in Israel! She used to tell everyone how special it is that you live in our Holy land.”

I knew my mother was gracious about me living far away, even though it meant that she couldn’t host us for Shabbat, didn’t see her oldest grandchildren up close and wasn’t able to share in the day-to-day of our family’s lives. She never complained about the distance and worked hard to maintain the connection from far.

I just didn’t recall hearing from her that she was proud of my choice to live in the Holy Land. I longed for reassurance that she was happy and took pride in this, and I secretly asked G‑d to send me a sign so I’ll know for sure.

Returning from the shiva and yearning to connect to my mother, I combed through a folder where I store old letters and cards, looking for any correspondence from her. I felt my heart twist just from seeing her handwriting, but at the same time, there was tremendous comfort in remembering the close relationship we had and the times we shared.

As I made my way through the pile, I found a yellow lined paper with a letter that she sent together with a book that she gave me. My heart skipped a beat as I read what she wrote: I figured you’ll enjoy reading this book about these great individuals, many of whom live in Israel. How lucky you are to live amongst such great people!

There! I had it in black and white (or blue and yellow to be exact). My mother was happy that I lived in Israel; she even told me so straight out.

What a comfort. What a relief.

This special find during a very painful period of my life reminded me of a lesson the Torah teaches us about Joseph when he was sold by his brothers into slavery.

The Torah mentions that the Arab wagon drivers who transported Joseph were carrying sweet-smelling spices instead of the foul-smelling kerosene that they usually carried. Many commentaries are puzzled by the significance of this in face of the heart-rending tragedy that Joseph was going through. One explanation is that through the sweet-smelling perfumes, G‑d was sending a message to Joseph that even though he’s going through a terrible ordeal, G‑d is still with him in his pain.

G‑d sends us such comforting messages; we just need to be open to seeing them.

Well, I, too, felt like G‑d was telling me: “Even amidst your searing pain, I’m with you. I’ll show you my love by sending this sweet message of your mother’s approval just when you need it most.”