I have become a celebrity at the place Mom and Dad live. He gave my book to some friends who were facing heartbreaking circumstances, similar to his. Those people then ordered some to give away, too. The result is that I get stopped by people in the halls and in the bistro almost every week, who want to thank me for writing it. It is humbling to hear the stories of what the elderly are facing. Hard. Gut wrenching. Stories that make me cry. When they tell me, my book is a lifeline and how it seems as if it was written specifically for them every day, it touches my heart deeply.
Jimmy, whose wife is in hospice, has become my biggest distributor. He orders 10 at a time from my inventory! He has made sure that every homeless person that enters Jeremiah’s Place transitional housing in Dahlonega gets a copy, because he said, “Who’s more weary than the homeless?”
I joke with him that I need to have the boxes delivered directly to him, but he prefers to get them from me. He says it’s more personal that way, plus he doesn’t do the computer. Each week when I go to see Mom, I drop off the latest number of copies he has requested. This past week I took him 5 copies.
When Mom saw them on the table she counted them. “1…2…3…4…5.”
She reached for one, because even though she can’t read anymore, she still loves the feel of a book in her hand. I passed it to her and showed her my name on the cover. I explained that Dad had done the cover photo. Dad told her that she had taught me to read when I was a kid and that now I had written a book! She didn’t really respond to our talk much; her eyes were locked onto the book.
She rubbed the cover with her hand gently, like it was a small animal…just looking at it. I turned it over so she could see my picture on the back. She held it in her lap as if she was reading the words. She knows you are supposed to read the words and she mimics what she knows, even if she isn’t actually reading. Her love for words runs deep enough she hasn’t forgotten what they are for. She petted the back cover, just rubbing it over and over. She loves the smooth feel and the color. She was just taking in the feel of it. Using her senses to gain information since her brain doesn’t compute words any longer. Almost as if it was written in braille. Like if she if she felt it enough she would be able to understand what was written, and I so wished that were possible.
We faded from her in the moment. She was fixated as she does sometimes. She ran her finger down the back and when she got to my picture, she smiled at it. It brought tears to my eyes. I don’t think she was doing it consciously because she doesn’t know who I am, but I like to believe subconsciously she made the connection. She didn’t look up at me. She didn’t say anything. Just that smile. But it was a sweet moment for my heart.
One of the things I have wanted her to know is that I have published a devotional book. She loved my first book about nature with Dad’s pictures. I think she would have loved this longer one even more. It would have been on her reading table with her other devotional books. Her lifetime of reading impacted me. When I discovered writing she was one of my biggest encouragers.
After her long look at the cover she started to turn the pages, but soon got distracted by something else and padded her little feet to move her chair on to the next thing. I took the book and put it back on the stack.
It was only a moment. A short instant of watching her possibly connect. There wasn’t an acknowledgement verbally, or otherwise to me. But her undivided attention is a rarity these days. The fact that the book held her for a few minutes is significant. To me anyway.