By Carol Graham
Dredging up painful memories you have buried for decades in order to write a memoir, is never easy. However, putting pen to paper changed my life forever.
When my daughter turned sixteen, she went on a trip for fourteen days and asked us to take care of her new puppy, a miniature Dachshund. This little guy’s name was Louis Vuitton and he was one smart fellow.
My husband and I were relaxing in the living room when we heard an awful commotion upstairs followed by the thump-thumping of something heavy being dragged down the stairs. I peeked around the corner and saw this little six-month-old puppy with short legs laboriously dragging his large, hard-sided Louis Vuitton carrier down fourteen stairs.
He glanced at us, wagged his tail and scurried back up the stairs. “What do you think he is doing?” We sat in amazement as one by one he dragged his earthly possessions down those stairs. First his blankie, then his bowl, his bone, ball, and his sweater. Wait! There’s something else! One last trip – his leash.
The carrier was considerably taller than he was – please remember he is a miniature Dachshund with very short legs. Each attempt he jumped higher until all the items were in his carrier.
After he finished packing his “suitcase,” he attempted to jump inside. It took several tries but he made it. But he wasn’t finished yet. Once inside, he got the zipper between his teeth and with all the strength he could muster, he pulled the zipper closed, laid down and went to sleep.
The message was abundantly clear. He wanted to find his mommy. He had seen her pack her suitcase and go away. He must do the same so he could find her. He stayed there all night and when I unzipped the carrier in the morning, he was elated believing he had arrived – but mommy was not there. He was still at Gramma’s house. After lots of cuddles, I began making notes of his daily escapades, each one more astonishing than the last.
After two weeks, I had completed Louie’s hilarious journal written from HIS perspective. For Christmas that year, I turned this journal into a hardbound book. When my daughter saw her gift, she laughed and cried at the same time. I will never forget the staccato words she spoke, “Mom, NOW will…. you…… write…… your…… story?” She began a campaign and no matter what excuse I gave her, she squelched it until I finally said “Yes!” just to make her stop!
It was inevitable. I had to do it. No excuses. No delays. It took almost ten years to complete. Thus, began my therapeutic journey to visit places I never wanted to go to again. Twelve chapters with twelve major traumas. Gang raped and left for dead, a cancer diagnosis, loss of a child, husband falsely imprisoned – any one of these could have forced me into a victim mode. Instead, I chose to be a victor.
Although a survivor of numerous situations that would make most people roll over and quit, I never regarded myself as a victim – only as a victor.
Battered Hope is written like a novel – opening as a mystery and continuing by making the reader wonder if the author will survive. It is a message of encouragement that no matter what happens, you can not only survive but thrive.
Publishing Battered Hope changed my life. It opened doors to international speaking engagements and my talk show, Never Ever Give Up Hope, now heard in over 140 countries which ranks number one in Google search results for the message of hope.
I owe it all to a miniature Dachshund, Louis Vuitton.