Updated: Apr 1, 2020
As my first blogpost on this new site, I want to share why I decided to write this particular story for my first children’s book. It is a heavy topic and I often wondered if it would be a story that would appeal to a younger audience and whether parents would want to buy this book or read it with their kids. After doing some research, I found that there are books out there like this for kids–more so now than there were when I was growing up. After going through the experience of loss and grief, I wish I had a book like this that could have given me some hope and comfort. So, here is an account of my journey into writing so far, and how this story came about.
I started writing my first children’s book in February 2020, when the COVID-19 started to spread around Hong Kong, confining us to our homes and limiting social gatherings. I had this idea to write children’s books a few years ago but never spent any real time or effort pursuing it. I never got past the climax of the stories I had started and none of them had an ending; most of them still remain locked in my mind. When the virus started to spread, I decided to use this opportunity to sit down, quiet my mind and write. I finished the first draft of 2,000 words in two days. A week later, I went back to it to do some self-editing, as most children’s books are no more than 1,000 words. I ended up adding 6,000 more words instead! I felt the story was not finished and I needed to keep writing. So, I ended up with two versions of the same story. The story is loosely based on my own experience with my father. Almost all of the events are fictional, however, many of the feelings that are described are real.
Originally, I wanted to write a different story–something more cheerful and even a little silly; but this story just needed to get out. It was fully developed–from start to finish. I knew I would not be able to write anything else until this story was finished. Every word just poured out of me like a rapid running down the stream.
When I watched my father go through all the treatments and continue to deteriorate, I rarely let myself truly feel the pain and anguish that was bubbling up inside. I suppressed a lot of it and closed my ears and my heart, building a wall between me and everyone else that was around me. I rarely told anyone how I was feeling. Sometimes, I wrote them down. Other times, I cried myself to sleep. It’s been almost three years and the grief and pain still remain, though my heart hurts a little less than it used to.
Losing my father, even as an adult, felt so painful, I could not imagine what it would be like for a child. I wanted to write this story from the perspective of a young girl going through all the pain and grief that I had experienced and what I wished I could have done differently. I wish I had been more prepared when the time came, and been able to come to terms earlier in the journey and accepting the inevitable end of life. Death and dying are rarely topics of discussion when we are growing up, especially in an Asian culture. Yet, we cannot ignore or avoid it when it comes.
I only found comfort in God months later, after my father passed away. Even though I was born into a Christian family, I didn’t have the kind of relationship with God the way my parents had. It was tough going through that season without Him, even though I prayed to God and asked Him to perform a miracle and heal my dad. I didn’t really have any faith or truly believed that He loves me. I even felt immense anger towards Him. But as I watched my father grow weaker and weaker, I also witnessed that his faith never wavered–it even grew stronger. His smile was contagious, and he was at peace with his condition. He didn’t question God’s plan or will, or asked why this was happening. He wanted–more than anything–to be with God in Heaven and had no regrets, nor did he wish for more time. I couldn’t fathom it and it took a long time for me to reconcile with God. But I opened my heart to Him when I saw how peaceful my dad was in the face of death, because he knew that he would return to God in Heaven.
I wrote this story, partly as a testimony, but also because I wanted to spread a message of hope and faith in our Father in Heaven. Our lives on this Earth are temporary and our time is limited. But when you have faith in Christ, death isn’t the end but a beginning of an eternity with Him. I hope this story can touch the lives of those going through the pain and suffering of loss and grief and know that we are not alone when God is near.