Today we have Ann Best sharing her inspirational Journey in life and to publication of her memoir! Without further delay I give you Ann:
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, this is the blurb that’s on the back of my book:
My children are in my memoir.
These are pictures of them in 1976. Jen is bottom row, center.
They wanted pseudonyms (the past is still painful for them), but I told Jen I couldn’t see her as anything except Jen. She was okay with this because she’s lived with me through the many drafts of my book, listening to passages and correcting me!
She’s my middle daughter who was brain injured in a catastrophic accident in 1986. (Her younger sister also suffered a crushed pelvis.) Brain injury. Twisted brain stem. She has no balance. She can’t walk. But she isn’t paralyzed and I can take care of her. I’m her 24/7 aide--though we now have a sweet young woman who gives us thirty hours a week. Jen loves her companionship, and I love the time to write and blog, and sometimes visit my other children who live an hour and a half away.
I’ve told Jen she’s the star of my blog. So today I’m going to share an excerpt with her in it. Clarissa Draper and Denise Covey have posted different excerpts, intense scenes that involve me and my first husband.
There’s also a brief review here that includes a few snippets from the book.
This is a scene that takes place eleven months after my daughter’s accident.
Five days before Christmas, a Saturday, I felt that something wonderful was going to happen with Jen. But when Tom and I got to the hospital Jen’s door was closed, and the feeling I had vanished.
“Is something wrong?” I asked the cheerful receptionist.
“I don’t know,” she said.
Finally, Jen’s door opened. Carol, a motherly middle-aged nurse who loved all of her patients as if they were her own children, appeared in the doorway. I expected her to smile at me and Tom and wave us into the room, but she didn’t even look at us as she disappeared around the corner and returned with an armful of clean towels and a hospital gown. She closed Jen’s door behind her.
“Maybe they’re dressing her in something special today,” I said to Tom.
But when we entered the room, nothing seemed different. She wore the usual hospital gown, a fresh one, and sat propped upright in the bed, bright-eyed and alert with a slight smile on her face. I had seen her alert before. What was going on?
Carol stood by the bed with the young aide and the part-time nurse.
“Come here.” Carol motioned to me.
Something was different. I felt it as I stepped forward and leaned toward Jen. I watched her open her mouth. I heard her say, pausing a moment between each word, “I—love—you—Mom.”
The words were halting and a bit slurred but clear enough to understand.
“Oh, Jen.” I pressed a hand to my mouth.
“Tell her again,” Carol told her.
“I—love—you—Mom.” The words were louder this time and more distinct.
“You little sweetheart,” I cried out.
“Wait,” Carol said. “There’s more.”
With intense concentration Jen said, “You—are—my—mom—Allison—is—number—one—Megan—is—” She paused. “Number—three—Eric—is— number—four—I—am—number—two.”
Fumbling around her splinted arms, I pressed her cheek against mine and hugged her. “I love you, sweetie.” Tears blurred my eyes as I turned to the nurses. “I’m so grateful to all of you. You’ve all done so much for Jen.”
It had been eleven months since the accident. We can’t predict anything with brain injuries, the emergency room doctor had said. Now, through the grace of God and the skill of doctors and nurses, she could talk. It was a wonderful Christmas gift.
Here’s one more brief poignant scene with me and her father, who left me when she was fifteen. This takes place a few days after the accident. He has flown from Utah to Virginia to see his injured daughters.
That evening in the hospital waiting room, Larry and I were alone. Beside him on the fraying sofa, I said, “I guess you know Jen might not get through this.”
“I just hope she knows how much I love her.”
I remembered how Jen had cried and clung to me and said she hated him the night he left me. I had hated him, too. But in the quiet hospital room, I looked at his pleading eyes and said, “She knows you love her. She loves you, too.” Turning away from the tears in his eyes, I went back to the intensive care unit.
[end of excerpt]
Here's another INTERVIEW of mine, where I talked about a little bit more. And fellow Blogger and friend Talli Roland shared her views of my memoir, IN THE MIRROR, here.
The book is available on Kindle and Nook. A paperback copy can also be purchased directly from the publisher. Shipping and handling for the paperback is less this way than on Amazon, and fulfillment is faster.
I think I’m one of the few bloggers active on Blogger. I’m seventy-one. Published at age 71. It's never too late! And I hope to write another memoir before I die.