Friday, April 27, 2012

Becoming Brianna

As I hold the paperback copy of Enchanted Heart in my hands, I realize that this is a bittersweet time for me.  I am so happy that I have finally accomplished my dream of being published (and in print). But at the same time, I am sad that my son Brian is not here to celebrate with me.

You see, he was my biggest fan.  When he was nine years old, he sketched the cover picture to the novel that I had been working on.  I still have that novel tucked away in a box with his drawing proudly displayed on the top.  I’ll probably never publish the book that I had had titled Return to Paradise. It is too precious to me. It was his and mine and I am not ready to share it.
When I was sending out endless copies of my work to publishers, agents and other media, he would ask me “Are you in print yet?”  He would hurry to the mailbox to see if I had gotten an acceptance letter every day after school.  And when he would see that I had gotten another rejection letter, he would say, “Don’t give up, Mom. It will happen.”

After he graduated from high school and started college, I sent Golden Dreams to an agent and he would come home for the weekend and ask, “Any news?” I’d have to say,”No.”  And he would repeat his mantra, “Don’t give up, Mom. It will happen.”

In November of 2005, I signed with an agent who promised that my book would sell quickly. I was so excited to tell him when he came home from college for Christmas in his freshman year.  He gave me the biggest hug. I can still see the proud smile on his face.
Unfortunately, he was killed in a horrific house fire just a few days before Christmas.  He had gone to a friend’s house to spend the night along with some other boys.  The fire started while they were sleeping and Brian died along with two other beautiful and passionate young men. It was such a hard time for me.  And as the years crept by, the pain was only lessened by my undying love for my son and the knowledge that he is watching me with that huge proud smile of his and whispering in my ear, “See, Mom? I knew it would happen!” I just wish that I could hear his living voice saying those very words…

This is why I have taken his name. I will be forever Brianna in honor of him. His name will be on every story that I write and every poem that I pen.  
Now, as I hold the paperback copy of Enchanted Heart, I see his name (my name) and I cry with both joy and sorrow.  I thumb through the printed words and whisper to him, “We did it!” As I cradle the book in my arms, I say, “I never gave up!” And with a heavy heart, I utter, “I wish you were here to see it.”

But, he is, I tell myself.  He is in my heart and his memory influences so many things in my life.  My drive to succeed is purely due to his encouraging words, which meander in my mind like breaths of blessed inspiration.  I still won’t give up even though I finally have a book in print.  I won’t give up chasing a dream that is beyond a loving child’s hopes for his mother to succeed.  Now, my dream is immortality.  I want his name, even though it is the female version, to live forever.