It took 14 years to write Hitting Fear Head On. If it weren’t for Sharon Smith reading my very first manuscript, a year after our tragedy, I don’t think I would have persevered. Sharon gently suggested that I give up the idea of writing because my brain injury was quite evident. Sharon did not want me to suffer anymore. Somehow, I found the power within “Where there is a WILL there is a Way!”I continued to write as a way of healing my life. As I walked the path of grief, something magical happened. I could hear Preston’s whisper through my heart. This was our special time together. As I contemplated writing the book, I started to question myself. Maybe Sharon was right, so I put the book down. But then, people I had just met would say, “You need to write a book.”
That’s when Joyce Taylor came into my life. Joyce asked if she could read what I had written so far. She called and excitedly said, “I see the brain injury in your writing. It is a pattern and I am pretty sure I can figure this out.” That was just the beginning of my long journey of rewriting. Thank you, Joyce, for seeing beyond my disability and honoring my writing.
More volunteers stepped up to the plate to help me succeed as a published author. Thank you, Janet Robins, Debbie Lips, Lea Williams and Fran McCorkel for spending many long hours of reading, rewriting, editing and supporting my dream. Without Melissa Van Rossum and Laurie Appel, I am sure I would not have made it. Their gifts to heal me made it possible for me to get out of bed and function. Their endurance pushed me to continue. It gave me hope and a reason to live. Stephen Simon was a Godsend, an unbelievable gift who dropped from the sky. He gave me an incredible amount of courage and confidence. Thank you for your enthusiasm and guidance. You touched me deeply.
God planted me in a writing class. That’s where I met Mika Bella. He took the book to the next level. Mika made the book well rounded through his persistence and patience. Anitra Townsend, another beautiful Angel in my life, sat with me for hours while we re-worked the manuscript. Minna Chamberlin and Anne Bleicher, your resilience and fortitude to walk with me after losing your sons gave me the dedication to write and honor all of our children. Christine Jones, Geneal Christensen, Alecia Rice and Christine Rock, Tamsen Leachman, Pat Hastings, Curt Odom, Dr. Tg Belcheir, and Bob Potter have been the wings I balanced on while I learned to fly. They showed me open doors I could not see. Peggy McColl and Carolyn Pignat, Cathy Perryman and Mori Morrison, your editing and passion made the book come alive.
Just when I was going to give up again, by the grace of God, I met Pat Roth. She has the resilience of an eagle. Her wings wrapped me in unconditional love, leading me through the threshold, enabling me to expand my wings and fly. Aunt Sally thank you for your wise wisdom and outstanding journalism, along with the beautiful Spirit of Uncle Bill. Jami Lynn Sands gave the book the finally polish to complete the project. There are many others who gave me their shoulders to cry on and gave me the strength to continue.
My beautiful husband, Biff, for all the rewriting and for being patient with the brain injury, your enduring love, unwavering support and understanding propelled me to live our dreams. You were there for me, and for Preston, before he was born, when he was alive, and now that he is reborn again into the hands of God. Finally, God and Preston, I am grateful for being sent back to Earth to live in my broken body and shattered dreams. I had no idea how much you both loved me. I had not seen value within my soul, within my mind, within my body…until you showed me. Miracles were created with an invisible magical power that we co-created together. I found an inner strength through you, God, while I embraced you and Preston through my darkness, Your Guiding Light, lifted me to the highest realms, showing me depth, courage and wisdom. Thank you for your unconditional love and for teaching me the freedom to soar. I love you all. Our hearts are never apart!
Out of that world came our second book. Dr. Bonnie Vestal, a grief counselor, suggested our companion book, 18 Stepping Stones to Transforming Grief, as a how to book that is outside the box of mainstream grief. Thank you all for your support and allowing us to share keeping Preston Alive!