Just a thought… Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. [Omar Khayyam]
Happy Monday! Hope you had a restful and relaxing weekend. Something happened to us on Friday that I have been thinking about since December of 2016, when I received an email from Iris Tupholme at HarperCollins saying she was in the audience of Tracy Moore’s Cityline tv show, heard what I said, and thought I had a book in me. This arrived on our doorstep at the end of last week.
It was about 5 pm when I heard a car come to a sudden stop in front of our rented house. There was a brisk knock at the door. Rob and I had been lost in our own worlds, pecking away at our respective laptops. Our friends Charles and Nancy were out for the afternoon, so we took the opportunity to get more work done: him on the audio book editing, me on writing articles for ideas.walmart.ca like the one I shared last week with you.
By the time Rob got to the door, the driver had pulled away and there sat a package. The envelope’s return address said HarperCollins.
I had goosebumps as we stood together in the kitchen, Rob wielding the butcher knife that I didn’t trust myself with to open the stubborn plastic envelope. I closed my eyes as I pulled it out. When I opened them, there it was: my book, my labour of love, my tear-stained testament to the fact that you can love someone with all of your heart and yet find ways to fill it with joy when that heart is still in pieces.
Until now, I’ve only held a paperback reviewer’s copy – one that still bore errors that would be caught and fixed in the months between that early edition and the one I held in my hands. The pages are carefully laid out and cleanly trimmed; it weighs not what we thought it might, but feels just right in my hands.
I held it and ran my fingers over the raised font on the cover, reading and re-reading the gentle, beautiful words of Jann Arden in its foreword, poring over the tiny type that said First Edition. This is all a small miracle – starting with how Iris came to be in that audience on that particular day (all by chance). I will always believe that Lauren’s hand was at work making these early connections, just as she guided me through the arduous months that followed. I will share with you the words of dedication that open the book:
Today, my thoughts are with my sister Leslie, whose eldest child Michael would have – should have – turned 25. I wrote a blog about his 2017 murder which, to this day, has yet to be solved.
But as grateful as I was to be able to offer Leslie a knowing ear and shoulder to cry on during those early days, as they awaited confirmation of her son’s death, I am equally indebted to her for offering to me two different perspectives on losing children: one, before she was able to join the world and, the other, two decades afterwards. She is one of a handful of amazing women who shared with me their stories so that I might be able to look at life after loss from points of view vastly different from my own.
I am grateful to each one for the stories these brave women shared with me and I know they’ll stay in your heart long after you’ve set this book aside.
Thank you for being at my side and sharing the journey with us. Friday was one of the highs – and you were right there, too.