Thursday, January 19, 2012


My latest book is called Threads of Hope. It’s about a young Norwegian woman who comes to America to begin a new life. Everything she’s loved dearly has died in in Norway and so it’s with a broken heart, yet one woven together with delicate threads of hope, that she boards the ship, sailing for this brave, new land called America.

I got the idea for this story from listening to my grandfather, great-aunts, their cousin, and my mother, my aunts, uncles, along with a host of others, talk about the old days. I must confess that a lot of the talk happened at the lutefisk  suppers at the quaint church in northern Wisconsin where everyone gathered to pray, eat, laugh, and reminisce, spinning tales of yon -- and sometimes yarn too. Although I’m not  a fan of lutefisk, I listened. So it was very important to me that my mother, who is suffering in the end stages of metastatic breast cancer, read my book. She’s read every single novel that I’ve written and no matter what the time of day (or night) is, she calls me when she finishes the book.

She called me last night, sounding tired and a bit out of it because of the morphine she’s taking to reduce the pain. “It was perfect,” she said of the story. “Just perfect.”

“That’s it?” Usually she goes into character specifics and remarks on the romance aspect. But not this time.

Then my mother explained that it had taken every ounce of strength she possessed to hold the book so she could read it. Reading, a pastime she has always loved, proved extremely difficult due to the cancer that is eating through her bones. Nonetheless, she couldn't stop reading and read the story from cover-to-cover.

That made my day -- and I apologized for being so insensitive. But Mom doesn't like to discuss her pain with me that much. She'd rather I remember her as the strong, independent, woman she's always been during my growing-up years. The past 20 years, however, were filled with tragic disappointments and self-defeats for my mom. And here I’d been so worried she wouldn't live long enough to read brand new book, which I think is my best historical novel thus far! Selfish of me, perhaps, but it seemed so important.

So I’m praising the Lord that He allowed it to happen -- for me and for Mom. She always says my books encourage her and, yes, give her hope. 

And so it is that by threads of hope, she hangs on. She still attempts to appraise artwork, although now she doesn’t have the strength to even sit long enough to work on her laptop computer. She no longer wants to eat. The tumors in her abdomen are growing so much so that her stomach is distended. And yet, she presses on. The woman has a will of iron and it’s always impressed me. But it’s her steel-strong will that works against her too. She’s created her own faith, one that she says doesn't include believing Jesus Christ is God and the Savior of the world. Instead, she believes her own “truth.”

And yet, those threads of hope spun together with a daughter's love still bind me to her. While there is life, there is hope. My prayer that I’ll see my mother in heaven one day.


Sandra Heska King said...

Oh, Andrea. I'm so glad I saw this post. I lost my mom to a primary and aggressive brain cancer on November 27. She fell in the end August. They found the mass then. Until then, we had no clue. She had beaten colon cancer years earlier.

I never completed a novel for her to read, but she read all of my blog posts--after I got the nerve to tell her I had a blog.

I'm hoping I can finish one before my father passes since my idea came from his family logging roots.

Though my mom was never very vocal about her faith, I'm trusting that we will meet again. And I'm praying for your mom today. And you. And I'm believing that somehow, through your writing, your mom in her heart has or will reach out to Him.

Beautiful and heart-wrenching post. Hugs to you.

Lisa Lickel said...

So sorry to hear Mom is losing the battle. I wish you joy and continued blessings with your work.

Cyndi said...

Prayed for your mom. You're right... as long as there's life, there's hope! So glad she was able to read your book! I'm looking forward to reading it myself! :)

Amy said...

Threads of Hope is a beautiful title for the story you just told. My heart goes out to you and your mother. May God open her heart and mind to His perfect gift and may she with joy accept it. I will continue this prayer for her. Thank you for sharing & allowing us the opportunity to pray for you all.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about your mother. A close friend of mine passed away due to brain cancer and my step-dad died of lung cancer.

I'm praying the time you have with your mom is a precious time for both of you.

hugs and prayers,