Sunday, September 05, 2010

Nicholas Sparks was not my favorite author...

Nicholas Sparks was not my favorite author, he was my mother's favorite author. She read everything he had published, saw the movies inspired by his books, and looked forward to each new novel.

Yes, I enjoyed the movie "The Notebook" and listened to "At First Sight" and "Dear John" on audio book. I read "Last Song" and cried during the movie especially when Luke Benward, who I knew when I lived in Franklin, Tennessee, was on the screen.

I routinely tracked the new fiction arrivals in bookstores so I could buy the book for my Mom for her birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas. Usually the Nicholas Sparks book was a Christmas gift.

Last April, I was dismayed there was no new book or DVD by Sparks which would be available before her birthday on May 7. The "Dear John" and "Last Song" movies were weeks away from distribution. What could I possibly get her that could compare? There was nothing.

But, then I thought, what if? What if I could contact Nicholas and ask him to send my mother, one of his biggest fans, a birthday card? I searched his website and sent my request to the first email address I could find. What did I have to lose? He was a busy man and it was doubtful whoever received the email would even pass it along much less respond.

Within two weeks, I received an email that Nicholas would sign a card for her. I was astonished and tickled pink that this busy author considered my request and would make time for her. Within one week I received a wonderful belated birthday card signed, "I wish you the best and many more years! Nicholas Sparks."

With great anticipation, I delivered the card to my Mom at Desert Cove Nursing Center. She saw the card and opened it cautiously, wondering who was sending her a card after her birthday. She read the card and it took a few minutes to register that it was from her favorite author. "Is it really from him?" she asked. "Did he really send a card to me?" I assured her it was and he did.

The joy on her face was worth my small gamble. Her heart was touched and I so enjoyed when she told others he sent her a card. She was amazed and awe-struck by his acknowledgement.

Mom only lived another month after receiving Nicholas' card. Since that time I framed the card and hung it in my mother's room. When I created the movie of her life, I closed it with Miley Cyrus singing "The Last Song," which was the final movie my Mom saw in a theater. She lived long enough to see "Dear John" on DVD in the hospital room for the second time.

I told a number of people this story so they would know the extraordinary act of kindness Nicholas had done for me.

One friend said, "He writes those sappy novels, he had to do it." I thought, no, he didn't have to do it. He heard my plea about my mother's health but there is no way he can honor every request. Nicholas touches our hearts with each book, he has an extremely busy schedule, he helps his community and has children of his own yet he chose to take a few minutes to write a card. He went above and beyond what was needed.

Last week I closed the chapter to this story by sending Nicholas a thank you note with a card from my Mom's memorial service. He helped us both during a difficult time and has added a wonderful story to our family history. I hope he knows just how grateful I am for pleasure the card gave my Mom and me.

Sappy novels? If heart-warming, heart-wrenching, beautiful stories of love are sappy, so be it. I may just have a new favorite author.


Becky said...

Such a great story, and it was such a sweet surprise when we received that card.

Frank said...

Sappy novels do not mean he has to respond. His novels are not my particular cup of tea, but he showed that he has not gotten too big of an ego and for that alone I am willing to cry again at the end of The Notebook. Not that I've ever seen it, or anything......

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

What a wonderful story! I've read most of his books, and don't always like the crying part, but I really like "The Last Song" and thought how many of us miss the opportunity to tell someone we love that we love and treasure them.

Thank you for sharing!

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