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Balloons to Heaven!

Nick loves helium filled balloons.  They are one of the joyful things in life.  For Nick, they indicate a celebration, a party, a time to have fun together.  If he sees one, he asks if he can have one.  We would always tie the string to his arm so that he could enjoy looking at the balloon and not lose it.

After my dad died back in 1992, Nick began letting the balloons go on purpose.  I would get mad at him.  I didn’t think to ask him why he was doing it.  I was frustrated that we were going to a big effort to give him something that he enjoyed and he just would let go of it.

I don’t know how long it took me to ask him and I am sure that the question “what are you doing that for?” didn’t come out in a pleasant soft voice.  However his answer stunned me.

He said, “I send it to heaven, to Grandpa.  He love it.”  His faith astounds me.  He thinks about those he loves who now live in heaven.  He sends them balloons whenever he gets one.

Now we stand with him when he releases the balloons and watch it go up and up until it disappears.  It is a wonderful reminder to me.  Some days the balloons go to Grandpa Doherty and other days it is Grandma Doherty or Grandpa Gremmert.  Last week, he said “The balloon going to all of them.”

After my mom passed away in 2012, we decided to share Nick’s tradition with those who came to her celebration of life.  We had balloons for everyone to send up to her in heaven.  My friend Maureen Hoffmann captured an amazing shot of Nick and some of us just after we released the balloons.  It was a joyful moment in the midst of our grief.

When you receive something joyful, do you think of your loved ones?  Do you send the joyful thoughts up to heaven?  I suggest you get a balloon, find a quiet spot where you can release it up to heaven. Send a prayer of gratitude up with the balloon as you watch it gently swaying in the air, rising upward.  It is an amazing experience.

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.

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