When Forever Comes
Featured Songs: “Sail On” & “Hello” by Lionel Richie (while with the Commodores)
Jack Hayden is probably more like my husband than any hero I’ve created. Now, let me clarify that, because such a declaration could get me into trouble. I simply mean in the type of guy that he is, not necessarily in personality. Jack is a farm boy through and through, and a construction worker; he’s very physical, all male, and very good at doing all the things that men are typically expected to do. I often call my husband a “real man” and I do think that concept was behind my original inspiration. What happens when a “real man” loses his ability to do many of the things that are wrapped up in his male identity? When I asked my husband this question, his response was not good. It was great food for thought for me.
I don’t know if I chose Mt. Pleasant, Utah as the setting in correlation to my husband, or just because it was a small farming town that I knew very well. But my husband was born and raised there, and so was his father. Right after our first baby was born, we moved to Mt. Pleasant and lived there for three years. It was an interesting experience. I learned and grew a great deal while I was there, but they were hard years for me. I did, however, make one of my dreams come true while I was there. Because it was a small town and I had no competition, I opened a dance studio and taught dance for a couple of years. It was just enough to get it out of my system. I’d always thought that I wanted to, and I’m glad I did it, but what I learned is that I love to dance, and teaching isn’t necessarily my forte, even though I think I did a pretty good job. So, with that confession on the table, you know that I have some things in common with Hilary; two things to be exact: dancing and hay fever. Just imagine Anita Stansfield out in an alfalfa field driving a tractor with a bandanna over her face. Yep, that’s me. And once I dumped one of those round bales off the wagon into a ditch because I misjudged driving the tractor over the culvert. It’s all very glamorous, I know. Little did I know my brain was getting inspired.
I recently reread this book and I really love it. Jack makes me laugh out loud at the beginning. And the struggles he goes through break my heart. I remember that one of the most difficult things for me in writing this book was that the ending of the book would not bring a physical solution to the problem. The solution came in Jack’s acceptance of his disability, and in his being able to acknowledge that his value as a person didn’t come in his ability to do physical things. For me, the title became something I had to hold onto. The conflict was permanent in mortality, but it would be absent in eternity.
Oh, and . . . the worn out toe shoes on the cover are mine.