Column: Books heal hearts, transform lives

cathycovenewCathy Cove is a 26-year resident of Goderich and active member of its environmental committee. She is a  freelance writer and co-author of Not Like Any Other Sunday. Cathy Cove founded and directed Parent Network Ontario, a non-profit provincial parent organization that promoted the interests of parents in and outside Ontario’s education systems. She served on the AMDSB Special Education Advisory Committee and was invited to sit on the board’s consultations on improving Communication within the Avon-Maitland school community. She writes in Bullet News Huron about subjects that pique her interest.

On Friday Dec. 14, 2012 the world watched in horror as a tragedy unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut.

Twenty-six innocent people, most of them children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the days that followed words seemed so inadequate.

Words also have a way of providing a sense of comfort and unification in times of tragedy.

On Dec. 19, I watched and listened to the interviews of victim’s families, Newtown authorities, and even the President of the United States.

NotLikeAnyOtherSundayI heard a representative from Newtown’s Cyrenious H. Booth Library speak about how the library was acting as a catalyst for the community to come together to share in their loss. The library offered grief counseling and generally provided a safe haven for people to come to reflect.

I was reminded of similarities between our own community in the days after the tornado and Newtown.

I remembered the days when Elizabeth Cooper and I knew that getting those personal stories were going to be crucial in the healing of our immediate community.

With this in mind Elizabeth and I decided to send a gift of two copies of Not Like Any Other Sunday to the Newtown library.

Not Like Any Other Sunday is a collection of more than 50 personal stories from the day an F3 tornado struck Goderich on Aug. 21, 2011.  The book is currently in its fifth printing.

We sent a letter describing the days after the Goderich tornado and how we felt our book may have contributed in a small way to helping people move on.

In part it read in part:

“If there is one message that we could convey to you and the people of Newtown and the Sandy Hook school community it would be the message that serves as the back cover of our book. ‘Even in despair, there is hope.’  We in Goderich know all about small town spirit and how in the days ahead it will be that spirit and resolve of the people that will see you all through this trying time.”

I thought about Newtown on Super Bowl Sunday as the Sandy Hook Elementary School choir from that school sang America the Beautiful and wondered how that community was doing.

Last week Elizabeth and I received a most encouraging letter from Alana Bennison, from the Newtown library thanking us for the copies of our book.

Bennison wrote that Not Like Any Other Sunday will be added to the library’s Books Heals Hearts project. Books Heals Hearts is a special project for healing that will make materials like our book available for use in their library, Newtown schools and throughout the community.

Elizabeth and I never thought the stories in our book could reach so far and wide.

Knowing it is in the Newtown library and part of the Books Heal Hearts project makes us feel like our efforts to share and help are continuing.

This Thursday is Valentine’s Day. It will also mark the two month anniversary of the events that occurred in Sandy Hook and Newtown.

We hope that the sharing and passing on of the stories in Not Like Any Other Sunday that the hearts of our storytellers will help the hearts of Newtown continue on their healing path.

More information regarding the Books Heal Hearts project can be found online.

Written by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized - No comments

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