Friday, November 7, 2008

The Heart of a Father

Over eight years ago I envisioned a book by men affected by congenital heart defects that would be a companion to The Heart of a Mother. I started with a handful of essays from men I had come to know over time, some had wives who had contributed to The Heart of a Mother, others were simply concerned fathers or grandfathers who found Baby Hearts Press and me. Now, finally, I believe we are coming close to finishing this project.

I have thought in the past that we were close and always something seemed to get in the way. This time last year I thought we would have the book out by Christmas. Then my grandmother fell ill, moved in with my father, got better, made it to my cousin's wedding, became sick again and then passed away in February. It has been a very difficult year for me. This Thanksgiving will be the first Thanksgiving in 8 years where Grandma isn't eating dinner at my house. My only consolation is knowing that she will be with us in spirit and that having my sister and her family, my family and my father present will kind of be a tribute to her. If it weren't for Grandma, none of us would be here. :-)

Dad is working very hard on the book with me since both of us are eager to complete this awesome project. We're still waiting on 3 essays but now I feel certain they will come. I have to believe they will finally be completed because I don't want to publish this book without them.

So that is where we are now. All but three chapters are completed. We have authors lined up to write the Introduction, the Preface and the Foreword. It's been fun reconnecting with the authors, sharing our progress with them and getting some updates. Our children are so beautiful and inspirational. The stories we have to share are going to help others in the CHD community. I only hope that Dad and I have done justice to the words these brave men have shared with us and kept their voice their own. One of my ultimate goals with the books I publish is to keep it real.

I was once interviewed by a reporter for Woman's World. I told her she could publish my story provided I got to okay the final version of the article. She had "Hollywood"ized my story creating a false history of what really happened. I wouldn't allow it to be published and I wondered how many of the stories I saw in the supermarket were distorted like she tried to distort mine. Our stories have enough drama in them. We don't need editors who are going to change what really happened just to sell more books or magazines.

These stories are written by real men. They may not be professional writers by trade, but they have opened up their hearts to share some of the most difficult moments of their lives -- or maybe some of the best moments of their lives. The book covers the gamut -- from births to celebrations of life to descriptions of the unthinkable -- losing a child. I look forward to sharing them with you all soon.


Anna Jaworski
mom to Joey (17; heart healthy) and Alex (14; HLHS); wife to Frank
author of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents and My Brother Needs an Operation
editor and contributor to The Heart of a Mother
co-editor of The Heart of a Father (in progress)