A TRIBUTE

Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Sandy’s been gone three years … and I’m just getting her book of quotes finished! I sat back in my office chair and watched my computer screen. CreateSpace, an online Amazon publisher, was working through. an “automated print check.”

As I watched the “progress bar” increase, I remembered how this project had begun.

Fresh-brewed coffee aromas drifted through the room where I sat on a metal folding chair in a group of more than 50 men and women. Sun shone brightly outside the glass entry doors when Sandy Cosgrave walked in. A tall woman, she wore an outfit of aqua and purple. A bright pink flower smiled from its perch over her left ear, tucked under the temple of her glasses.

It was 2006. Hubby and I had recently sold both our houses and moved in together in Gainesville, Florida. Determined to keep my thoughts and emotions in some kind of order, I had found local Twelve Step meetings to attend. Feeling very scattered, I went every day.

Sitting in a noon meeting was a nice break in my day. I heard thoughtful words, drank coffee and often also chewed a cookie.

Over several years, I got to know Sandy and began sitting beside her during our weekly women’s meeting. I hoped to absorb her wisdom.

Outside the meetings, we had little in common. She was single, and was an adventuresome outdoor woman who loved to kayak. Not me! Mosquitoes and alligators live in and near Florida waters!

I preferred a local gym, walked in our neighborhood and spent hours indoors, writing.

In spite of our differences, we recognized one another in a spiritual way.

When doctors first diagnosed Sandy with colon cancer, I watched her attend meetings, smile and walk “the high road” as she endured chemo treatments. Before the course of treatments ended, the “medicine” nearly killed her. Even though doctors predicted she would face death sooner, she stopped treatments. “I want quality of life until I die.”

Without the chemo, Sandy’s color and robust attitude returned. She continued to have checkups. For more than a year, she spoke at meetings, worked with several women individually and paddled her kayak.

Then the cancer became active again. A life-long friend came to live with her and Sandy began planning her funeral.

Meanwhile, one day I spoke to her about preserving her wise comments in a book. She cocked her head, “I don’t want to spend time writing a book…”

I shook my head. “I don’t mean that. I’ll gather words you have said that others have written down. You can read and edit them. It won’t take so much time.”

She paused a moment, smiled and said, “I’d like that!”

I approached three ladies I had seen taking notes at meetings and explained what I envisioned. Each was happy to provide 10 or 20 quotes.

Sandy and I edited one set before she became too ill. After she died, I went ahead with the project, setting up quotes from the other two women in a similar format.

The next step was setting up the book. Since I had self-published my book, An Accidental Pilgrimage in 2007, I knew where to begin. Two months later, the ladies and I had proofed pages. Except for the covers and “set up” for the publisher, the book was ready.

I could not do either. In the winter of 2017 I called a local book set-up man who had done work for me. While he once worked for the publisher, now he had a different job and did set-ups and covers on the side.

He said, “I should be able to get into that this week.”

On the other end of the phone, I smiled. I’ll have it published before I leave for the North. I e-mailed him the necessary files.

I waited. And waited and waited. I left for the North. From there, I emailed the man, called and left messages. I wrote him a letter. Nothing happened during 5 months I was in the North. I gave up.

Friends had published their books through Amazon’s Create Space. I chatted about publishing with one gal I saw in the grocery store. She grinned, “It’s easy!”

I shook my head slowly. “I’m not very good with arranging matters when I can’t talk to people in person.”

She still smiled, “You can do it!”

I wasn’t convinced. Still, I had to do something! I called another friend who had been in my writers’ group. The lady said, “I used CreateSpace. You can too!” She explained some of the process while I scribbled two pages of notes. Sounds involved.

I said, “I’m not very good with websites.”

A smile warmed her voice. “If you get stuck you can call in for help.”

I thanked my friend and sighed. I have to try! It’s been more than two years since Sandy died!

My attempts were hit-and- miss. One weekend I talked to helpline people three times! Still, before I left Indiana in December of 2017, I ordered book proofs. The gals will help me find errors when I get back to Gainesville.

After the girls checked the book again, I made corrections. By the end of January 2018, I had also improved the back and front covers and ordered new proofs.

sandy says cover

Why the delays? God always has a plan. Perhaps I needed to overcome my fear of online publishing.

At least the book is finished, and now released!

I am blessed.

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