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. 

18 comments:

  1. You have moved me to tears...
    Roxanne

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  2. It is very sad. As a mother, I really understand your pain. But you are strong and don't dwell on your pain. You have turned it into something positive by writing more books. Wish you well and write more romance, please.

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  3. My dear, I can't imagine having the strength to go on and endure as you do. You are an inspiration! God Bless you and your endeavors!

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  4. It is so very special that you use Brianna as your pen name. BIG hugs to you and yours & thank you for sharing. I know it isn't easy. I know he is rooting for you every single day.

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I have to believe our loved ones never leave us. They still keep cheering and loving us. You will always hear your son, and I will always hear my grandmother.

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  6. Without wonderful friends and family, I would not have survived such a tragic event. Every day has been an emotional journey for me and I cherish the love and support of very caring people. Thank you!

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  7. Heartbreaking, but I can understand why you chose your pen name.

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  8. Dear Brianna, I wept for you as I read your heartfelt story of losing your son. I am so sorry for your loss. You were blessed to have his love, as he was blessed to have you. It's a tragedy that he isn't here right now giving you a hug, and saying way to go, Mom. But as you say, you are carrying him in your heart and you have incorporated his name into yours. I wish there was some way we could explain the mystery of why a young man, like your son, was taken in the prime of his life. I hope some day we can find the answer to so much pain. Meanwhile, thank you for sharing. And, given how you described him, he would want you to go on with your dreams. Wherever he is, he's rooting for you.

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  9. Such a tragedy. I can't imagine what you've gone through, but I admire the way you've focused on your shared dream and persisted. I'm sure he's proud of you.

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  10. Thank you so much for your heartfelt words. Healing is a daily struggle but with such kind friends to help me through it, I am able to carry on his dream. Our dream.

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  11. I have lost a nephew in a house fire, and a future daughter-in-law to a car accident, but I hope to never loose my two kids, at least not in my life time. But that perseverance that you have because of his cheering you forward, may you never lose that.

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  12. This is heartbreaking Brianna. As a mother of two boys it is impossible to read your story withoutt crying. Your lovely boy is without a doubt watching over you with pride.

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  13. Wow! Bless you!

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  14. What a wonderful way to honor your beloved son.

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  15. What an incredibly beautiful tribute to your son. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  16. After reading about this on your other post, I had to come learn more. How motivating to hear Brian's voice urging you on to write more.

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  17. Great pen name and in honor of your son, such a nice tribute for a life that ended so tragically. I wish you the best in your writing adventures.

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  18. I was moved by your blog, Brianna. It reminded me of my own son as a teenager at a friend's house when it caught fire and the house burnt down. Only a shell left. Thankfully, my son and his friend (the only occupants at the time) were unhurt. But you have reminded me of what could have been. My heart aches for you.

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