Eight years ago my mom was diagnosed with cancer. My family knew about the perils of dealing with such a deadly disease, but she was determined to never give up hope, to fight all the way; we were determined to love her and comfort her and encourage her all along the way, too. As long as it took to find healing and win the battle.
In 2006 things became a little more dire. Dad was struggling with the possibility of losing the love of his life. My brother and I were lifted up by our friends and families as we dealt with mom’s own struggles and eventually we understood that she would probably succumb to cancer’s clutches. As hard as it was, we dealt with it, continuing to love, comfort, and encourage her and each other. That’s what families do.
A minister, my brother Jim lives in Johnson City, Tennessee where he had his church to shepherd, yet he was always there at the right time to take part in our parent’s lives. As we began to deal with mom’s declining health, someone told me to “stay busy”. Jim had his flock and I had my customers. But I needed something to do during the times of staying with mom.
For a number of years I had collected articles, photos, and other items that had something to do with the Nashville Vols and Sulphur Dell. Encouraged to put them in a book so that folks could read about the famous ballpark and Nashville’s baseball history, I sent a proposal to Arcadia Publishing to write a book to be included in their “Images of Baseball” series.
Once my proposal was approved, I began to create captions for my images by searching through my files, and diligently researched the history of baseball in the area. Many people were of valuable assistance and are acknowledged in the book for their help.
Staying up with mom during those sleepless nights in her living room where a hospital bed had been placed for her, I had my laptop. So I typed, researched some more, and tried to make some sense of something I had wanted to do.
I have often said that writing is a “labor of love”. It was actually no “labor” at all, seeing what mom was going through. My editor at Arcadia did not really create any problems for me, but there was a target date to publish in March of 2007, and she encouraged me to keep at my work.
Finally, even my editor needed to meet a deadline. I had to submit my final draft so that the images, captions, and other information I provided would all match up with what I had written.
I succeeded in sending my final revisions on November 8th. I was grateful to be finished, and I told mom that my work was finally going to come to fruition, that I would be published. She had lived around baseball since she met dad as a young woman as dad played in Nashville and when Jim and I were old enough, we did too. She understood how happy I was, and she congratulated me and said she could not wait to see it, to read it.
Yes, I may have rushed it a little bit. There are a few errors and a few mistakes that I did not get to review, not able to read through my draft just one more time.
The next day, mom passed on to Heaven. That was seven years ago today.
She knew that I had finished. I want to be clear that I do not believe mom was holding on to hear me say that I had submitted my final draft. Not in the least.
I’m more blessed to have had her as my mom than I am to have been published. Today I won’t include a photo, neither of her or the book. I know you will understand why.