For this week’s Photo Challenge, stimulate your creative process and imagine which of your images you would like to see gracing the cover of a book, an album, or a magazine. Would the image inspire us to take a peek through the pages, listen to the music, or buy a ticket to the show? Would it strike a chord with viewers, making them reflect on or revisit memories of places, people, and experiences?
There’s one big resolution for me this year: to write – or at least start writing – the book that has been forming in my head. In my heart. No more talking and dreaming about it, but DOING it.
So I chose this photo of a library, because next year my book will be out there too! Though it might be an online library 😉
By the way, I made this photo in front of the Old Library of the Trinity College in Dublin. A library that was CLOSED between Christmas and New Year. Such a disappointment… until I saw this poster. I got to see it after all. A bit. 😉
As I turned the last page, tears were streaming down my face. Happy that sweet little Annie was finally able to dance in heaven, no longer hampered by the prison that her body had been for her sparkling and merry mind. Sad that her radiant smile was now only a memory.
Dancing in Heaven, a sister’s memoir, is written by Christine M. Grote. She is a talented, gifted writer, whose words filled my mind the last six weeks. I finished it last night. Each evening I would read only a few pages of the book she sent to me, to fully absorb and respect this special story, and not race through it. A story Christine wrote about her severely disabled sister Annie, who died at the age of 51 on August 16, 2009. Not as an adult, but still a child.
Christine’s parents devoted their lives to take care of their children. To raise Christine and Carol. But mostly they were there for Annie, who needed their attention each day and each night of her entire life. And they gave it, willing and full of love. For their girl.
In Dancing in Heaven, Christine takes us on a journey. She shares Annie’s story with us in the immediate and more distant past, describing the impact that Annie had on all of their lives. Through the writer’s eyes we are silent witnesses of the last days Annie spent in her family’s caring arms. Christine also takes us back in time to show us how growing up with Annie was – how their family life was touched – through moving anecdotes.
The love they all gave to Annie, was returned many times over by this sweet and gentle little lady. Through her special smiles and her unique ways of telling those around her that she knew they cared. And was happy. When one looks behind the limited body into the spirit of a person this radiant, boundaries disappear. It is soul to soul. And Annie’s spirit has always been dancing.
It’s like we were the guardians of a great and precious treasure. I always felt like I was special because I had a sister like Annie. I felt I had a secret glimpse into things other people could only guess at.
I can fully recommend this courageous, sweet and sincere book. Christine M. Grote’s beautiful words have a flow that will take you along gently. I admire her greatly as a writer, adore her as Annie’s sister and hug her for being a friend. For making my life richer. Thank you, Christine.
Now I will entrust Dancing in Heaven to Karen, then to Ilse and afterwards to other friends. To spread Annie’s story in the Netherlands, perhaps even in Europe. Because this story needs to be read. Please contact me if you want to share Annie’s story too.
Today, after work, a parcel was waiting for me on the side table in the hallway. When I came closer, a big smile spread on my face: Christine M Grote‘s book had arrived! Dancing in Heaven made it safely across the ocean.
I threw down my purse, left the groceries at the kitchen table and gently attacked the envelop.
Look at the cute page marker:
When I opened the book, I saw this message:
With a happy sigh I closed my eyes and took a moment to mentally thank Christine for this marvelous gift.
While I’m reading it, Dancing in Heaven will be on my nightstand. And after, it will find a permanent home in my bookchest, with regular sleepovers at my friends’ houses! The story of Annie will spread across the continent.
But first it’s my turn…
THANK YOU, Christine, for sharing your words and thoughts with me, with other Dutchies, through Dancing in Heaven. For the story of your sister Annie. I feel deeply honored.