Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Promise of Forever

A Promise of Forever

(I listened to a CD by Enya called "The Celts." It was the soundtrack to a BBC television series (I think) but it seemed to fit. I didn't listen to any particular song beyond that.)

During the time that “First Love and Forever” (my first publication) was in the process of getting ready to go to press, I had a dear friend, Ellen, who was dying of cancer. Many times through the experience of sharing death with a friend, different people suggested to me that I should write a book about it. I figured cancer would certainly be a profound conflict, but no plot ideas came to me. To write a book I need a story, not just an issue. Ellen and I joked about it a little, and I told her more than once that maybe she could help me out with that when she got to the other side. Well, less than two hours after Ellen’s death, the story came to me very suddenly. (Honest) This was one of the first times in my life when I couldn’t deny the power of the ministering of angels. (Moroni chapter seven explains everything.)

The plot and characters of this book are completely fiction, but the medical scenario was in many ways what had happened to Ellen. An oncology nurse helped me with some of the details. A couple of years after it was written when it was finally being published, I found out that my mother had terminal cancer just as I was in the middle of final revisions. The C word is so ugly, but unfortunately there’s hardly a family that hasn’t been affected by it in one way or another. Many people have told me that this book has been very therapeutic and healing after losing a loved one to cancer, or having cancer themselves. Because the book deals with two different women—one who dies and one who doesn’t—it covers emotional issues in both cases. I should clarify that this therapeutic process usually involves lots of tissues, and some people have had to wait to read the book until they had some distance from the experience. Whether you fall into any of these categories or not, I believe the story is a great study in grief and moving on.

Ironically in 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following Ellen’s death I had committed myself to be vigilant in regular testing. My yearly mammogram showed an abnormality that literally saved my life since it lead me to knowing that I needed a radical complete double mastectomy; otherwise I was a ticking time-bomb. As I went through the experience, I often thought of Ellen and this story and all I had learned that helped ME get through.

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