Today, January 31st, is IndiesForward day – a special blogging event dedicated to spreading the legacy of Julie Forward DeMay and her touching memoir, The Cell War Notebooks.
What would you do when faced with a battle for your life? Author, photographer and creative spirit Julie Forward DeMay took on her fight with cervical cancer like she was playing for the new high score in her favorite video game, Asteroids. Inspiring, witty, beautiful and brutally honest, The Cell War Notebooks is a compilation of the blog Julie kept during the last seven months of her life. It’s a powerful read for anyone, whether your life has been touched by cancer or not. Check out the paperback on Amazon and keep up with the latest news on Facebook. All proceeds from book sales go to Julie’s nine year-old daughter.
My mother lost her battle against breast cancer ten years ago next month. Curiously, it isn’t February that is difficult for me, but December. The two of us shared a birthday, and while she used to tell me that I was the best birthday gift she’d ever had, the reverse is also true. She was a quiet person, an artist, a crafter, and a reader. She gave to me, among other things, my appreciation for books. We had all kinds of books in our house, and I have many fond memories of exploring them: perching at the top of the stairs next to a shelf boasting two different encyclopedia sets that held my rapt attention even when I was in grade school, a shelf in the living room stuffed with National Geographic magazines, the constant arrival of the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, the children’s books I shared with my sister on our own dedicated shelf near our room, the shelves that bracketed the fireplace and revealed another set of encyclopedias (I have a hazy memory of discovering Edgar Rice Burroughs there as well as Mary Stewart, Louis L’Amour, and Owen Wister), a collection of art and craft books, and regular trips to the library. I used to spend huge amounts of time reading, emulating Mom. The fact that a book could so absorb my mother as to render her senseless even to attempts to tickle her feet only proved to me that books held a special kind of magic.
When she passed away she didn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions, but she still had a love of books. Many of them now occupy spaces on the shelves of my own library, and when I see them I inevitably think of her. What a rich heritage, and how incredible that she can still so touch my life. Julie Forward DeMay, too, is touching lives with the memoir she wrote. Words are such powerful things…