I have previously read and reviewed some of this authors stories. Following on from those reviews I started to chat to the author via Facebook, and I found out a bit more about her. After one of these chats I downloaded this book, part of a double edition. I have held back from reading it for quite a while, due to the content I knew was in it. But I decided finally I owed it to the author to read this and give my thoughts.
Julie has 3 children. Other people may say she had 3 children, but in my mind that's not right. Regardless what this book is about, this woman has 3 children.
This book is a true story, told by the author herself, about many years in her life, but is about just one particular event. Julie's second daughter, Samantha, was born with several health problems, all related to her heart. At a very young age doctors operated, giving Samantha a much better outlook on life. This life continued as normal until she reached the age of 2.
These 2 short years had seen a lot of upheaval in this families life. They had faced unemployment, eviction, had to live in a mobile home during extremely cold winters. Yet they had made it, with everything life threw at them, as a family.
One fateful day near the end of November 1984 all that changed, in a tragic way. The author describes it as the day Samantha died for the first time.
Samantha became ill suddenly, stopped breathing. She was brought back by the doctors, but suffered irreversible brain damage in the process.
What follows is heartbreaking to read. The author tells us, in detail, exactly how she felt following this event. She tells us how she accepted she couldn't help her daughter when it was time to bring her home.
The honesty within the pages of this book is astonishing, and I take my hat off to the author for sharing this. What she has written is something which a lot of people will find extremely hard to accept. But all I will say is that, unless you have been in the same shoes, the author shouldn't be judged for her decisions. Reading this book will show you exactly how hard the author's decisions were, but they were the ones right for her at the time. She still struggles with her emotions now, and I hope by sharing her story she can accept some kind of closure.
For 17 years life continued the same for Samantha. Life moved on, however, for the rest of the family.The author gained educational qualifications, and also became a mum for the third time, to a son. She saw her eldest daughter marry. She battled with her decisions with regard to Samantha, but moved on with her life as much as she could.
Near the end of December 2001 Samantha died, finally, for the second time in her life.
This left her mum with one main thought - during those 17 long years, where was her daughter? Not physically, but mentally where had she gone? This led the author to write the second part of the double edition I bought, and she created Gone. I will read that part shortly.
Yes this is a difficult book to read, much as it must have been a hard one to write, but it is a story which had to be told. One of the most heartbreaking things within the pages of this book, for me at least, was that the author shares 2 photographs of Samantha, before the event which changed all their lives. I already had so much respect for this author due to her ability to write stories from different genres equally well. Reading this book has made that respect something more, something deeper, and I can honestly say that she is now on my list of favourite authors.