4 out of 4 stars
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Bob and Brenda were married on October 16, 2010, in a small church surrounded by their family and friends. Brenda remembered her friend asking her, “Brenda, are you sure you want to marry this man? He is so sick, and it would be a lot to take on in a marriage.” Bob had had a liver transplant and then was hit by a metro bus causing a hematoma on his brain. But Brenda was sure. Her love was strong, and she was prepared to take care of him through his illness.
Just Beneath Hope: The Dance, by B. Jade, is Bob’s true story written by Brenda. It is a story of love, faith in God, and hope for life. Brenda stuck by Bob through the worse times imaginable. Even when his liver illness and the medicines he was prescribed caused him to turn mean, Brenda understood why his demeanor changed and obtained help for him immediately. She never gave up on him. She never abandoned him.
The book title comes from Bob’s comment, “You can’t dance without the pain.” He meant the dance of life. When recovering from a surgery, he said he was dancing on his bed because he had survived. Bob loved life. His favorite pastime was fishing. There was nothing he loved more than spending the day with his faithful dog, Banjo, in his fishing boat. Bob always said that when he became too weak to fish, his life would be over.
Brenda and Bob always believed that God would take care of them. My favorite story was about Bob’s last Christmas in 2012. He wanted to celebrate with all the traditional trimmings including a big tree and all of the family coming home. Brenda was the only one able to work and was supporting the family. There wasn’t any extra money to buy a large tree. So Brenda went to the Dollar General store and found a seven-foot artificial tree. The manager said the box was damaged, but the tree was okay. It was left from the previous year and was on sale. When the price was rung up, Brenda couldn’t believe it. It was on sale for one penny. That year Brenda and Bob had a beautiful one-penny tree with homemade ornaments. All of their family came, and they had a truly memorable last Christmas.
The final blow fell when Bob was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Bob didn’t want to give up, but ultimately knew his hope had changed to “just beneath hope.” He wanted to make the most of the remaining time he had left. This is a very sad story, and I’ll admit I cried some as I was reading it. But it is also an inspirational story of courage and deeply committed love. The book is filled with stories of Brenda and Bob’s life together, their heartbreaks and their joys. Many family photos are included in the book showing their wedding, the one-penny Christmas tree, and their family. The book cover shows a touching picture of Bob and Banjo out in the fishing boat.
Brenda dedicated this book to the American Cancer Society and to all of the medical professionals that took care of Bob. She authored the book hoping it might help others with cancer and their caregivers. She cautions you can’t go through this alone. She encourages others to seek help with the American Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels, home nurses and hospice. She realized she had to also take care of herself so that she could be strong for Bob.
This beautiful story was truly remarkable. These people were very strong in their trust in prayer and God. I would recommend this story to anyone who wants to read an intensely moving autobiography. But I must caution that the emotions may be too strong for sensitive people. I didn’t find any grammatical or spelling errors in this short 132-page book and believe it has been professionally edited. I enjoyed this book very much and am rating it 4 out of 4 stars.
Just Beneath Hope
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