Most people think of romance novels as a bit of light reading while sitting on the beach or while snuggled up in a nice comfy chair. For others, it’s simply one of the many forms of entertainment they enjoy and sometimes take for granted. For me, these books are those things too, but they have come to mean something so much more.
In the short span of two years, I began to lose count of the number of friends and loved ones who were suddenly stripped away from my life and into the after life. The words cancer, heart attack, suicide and stroke were no longer just something they talked about in those annoying pharmaceutical commercials with a million side effects; they were real, painful and swarming around me. The most decisive blow to my psyche and soul was the passing of a man who had always been the cornerstone of my life and who from a child’s point of view was supposed to be immortal—my Dad.
At night, when my husband and daughter had gone to bed and I was left alone with only the thoughts in my head, it was impossible to hold in the grief I kept from the world at bay any longer and the tears would flow for hours. Then one afternoon the mailman delivered a care package from one of my dearest friends that was filled to the brim with an assortment of books, most from authors I had never heard of, much less read before. When it comes to books, I’ll admit I was a little set in my ways with only a select list of authors I remained faithful too, so truthfully choosing one from the stacks became a matter of which had the most intriguing cover. That book was PROMISE ME FOREVER by Lorraine Heath.
Tom and Lauren’s story was wonderfully written and involving but it was the last paragraph that did me in.
[quote]“Sixty-two years after they were married, Tom took Lauren back to Texas for the final time, laying her to rest in the rich Texas soil, near the creek where they had fallen in love. He visited her everyday, until six months later when he was laid to rest beside her. On their joined headstone, beneath the particulars of their lives, was carved a single word: Forever. Tom had promised his Lauren forever. It was a promise he kept.”[/quote]
Typically an ending like this, which ends the forever young, happily-ever-after with a sad note of finality on the characters lives, would leave me feeling slighted in some way, but this time it really touched my heart. It also made me think about how ‘forever’ means that just because someone is not present in your life—tangible—they will always be there because you hold a place for them in your heart.
That understanding began to make things a little easier but simply understanding something doesn’t always make the hurt disappear so I picked out another book and another and another, until the quiet of the night was slowly conquered through reading about the joys, sorrows, laughter and happy endings of the characters living within the pages.
It’s been over a year now since my dad passed away and I still read at least one book a day. While the grief will always be there for the people I’ve lost, the pain slipped away until only the shadow remains. So now I no longer read as a means to forget, but simply for the enjoyment I had forgotten existed for awhile. I will always be grateful to the authors I discovered in that box, the wonderful lady who sent them to me and all the great authors I have taken a chance on since then who haven’t failed once to make me smile.
(Most of whom, by the way, you will be hearing about in future blog posts)
Thanks to NovelsAlive for allowing me to share this with you.