The Sunshine Girl: A Mother’s Love Story To Her Daughter

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The Sunshine Girl pays tribute to Janet Sue Cole, the creative and beloved daughter of Debra Harder who lost her life to complications from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Through the poems and paintings included in this small book, readers get a sense of Janet’s creative talents, her love of nature, and her ability to express herself through writing.

It must have been heartbreaking for Janet to finally establish herself in her own apartment, beginning to enjoy the independence that comes with adulthood, but then be confronted with the tragic diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And if that wasn’t enough, she also had to face the fact that she would have to leave not only her home, but also her city of Boise, Idaho to seek treatment in California. Luckily, she had her mother Debra and stepfather there ready and willing to provide the support she needed.

From the acknowledgments in the book, it became apparent that Janet had an excellent team of caregivers and supporters. It was also interesting to learn that after Janet’s passing, Debra went on to train for a triathlon event to support the leukemia and lymphoma society, which made me think that Debra also had a network to help her overcome her loss. The fact that Debra lost her mother a month before Janet’s diagnosis must have been heart-wrenching. I got the sense that her faith and the love and support of family and friends helped her face these difficult and trying times.

I like to think the lovely drawings and poetry by Janet, which her mother included in this book, are displayed at her home and enjoyed every day by those who loved Janet the most. I felt like I got to know Janet a little through these creative endeavors. I especially appreciated her poems entitled “Night Magic” and “Yet Another Romantic Melodrama.” Her expressive paintings also drew me in. Especially “Indian Summer,” which captured a love of nature while radiating a sense of grace and brightness brought about by Janet’s love of color. I liked the fact that Debra included photos of Janet, which made me feel more connected to her. I think it is lovely that Debra wants to keep the spirit and light that Janet brought into her life alive with such a beautiful tribute to her. It’s clear from reading this book that Debra lost a precious gift when she lost her sunshine girl.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 70 pages
Publisher WestBow Press
Publish Date 2018-11-26
ISBN 9781973643548 Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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