Saturday, July 4, 2009
Jantzen's Gift by Pam Cope
Pam Cope and Aimee Molloy are the authors of "Jantsen's Gift." This wonderful book is about a family dealing with the death of a son and brother. Jantsen is fifteen years old when he dies unexpectedly. His mother walks us through her most painful moments. Then, we feel the strength of a healing heart as she walks out of grief and into a place of peace. Throughout the book, we never lose touch with Jantsen. I often looked at the title letting it remind me that Jantsen led his mother out of a narrow passage into a wider place. Also, at the beginning of each chapter her journal entries written in the form of a letter to Jantsen from his mother, Pam. These notes are also a reminder that Jantsen's light still shines in his mother's heart and around the world to people he never had the chance to meet.
Pam's new beginning starts with a trip to Vietnam with friends. It took thirty hours and four airplane changes to reach Vietnam. As I traveled along with Pam and the others going with her, I realized how little I know about Vietnam. I didn't know about the trafficking of children for prostitution. In many ways, Vietnam is still at war. This time with themselves while struggling with poverty and the ugly reminders of war wrecked country.
Pam with family and/or friends would travel to Haiti, Ghana and Vietnam to save the lives of children. She wanted to give children a better life, a life without hunger, without working as slaves and the chance to get an education. I will always remember her vigor, her determination and her compassion. It would turn Pam's heart inside out to see children working on fishing boats while hungry, chilled to the bone and empty of a child's spirit.
One letter begins "Dear Jantsen, I can't believe I am in the middle of nowhere, Africa."
The change in Pam's life wasn't like a genie waved a magic wand over her. She struggled many times in many ways. After all, she still had her family at home. Pam Cope tells about "Jerry Springer" moments in her family's life. Her tough personal situations really hit me emotionally. One fact I will remember is that people grieve at different times in different ways. A wife and husband won't necessarily cry their hearts out at the same time. In Pam Cope's life her husband, Randy, remained strong while she collapsed. Then his time had to come to make peace with the pain of losing Jantsen. Her life became one long roller coaster ride. At some points, the ride seemed unendurable. At other dips, she found herself wanting to get back on the ride again. Finally, she stays on the swaying, dipping ride knowing this wild ride is saving many, many children of the world. Thank you Pam Cope and all of your friends and family. You are saving the world.
Posted by Tea at 12:17 PM