5–touched my heart–stars
This book will move you, heal you, and inspire you. I haven’t been so affected by a book in a very long time. Always There by Carol Ann Albright-Eastman is amazing and you will fall in love with this story and the entire idea of the “here” and “there”.
This is the story of Betheny and her family in the “here” and “there”. It centers on Betheny and her daughter Shelby Lynn. It begins with Betheny’s final sister coming over to the “here” and all the drama and tears that occur will have you reaching for your own tissues.
The idea behind this book is so amazing and touched me deeply for my own personal reasons. It was difficult to get through at times because it really did hit so very close to home. Even though emotionally it was a difficult read at times I still had to know how this was going to end. Betheny’s Italian family is one I can SOOOO relate too–even down to the Sunday dinners, making sauce, playing cards and yelling your conversations instead of talking (doesn’t everyone have conversations at that “headache” volume?).
Shelby is in the “there” (on earth–living her life). However, the life she is living isn’t very much. She is afraid of so much because of the loss that she has endured over the last 15+ years. To say she is a bit scared to get close to someone is an understatement. However, she is very funny and endearing and you will love her. She is struggling with what is in her heart and what her brain is telling her is the right thing to do for her own survival. I love that they curse in the “here” and they argue and bicker. There really are a lot of lighthearted and funny moments. I am really attached to this book.
Favorite quotes and excerpts from the book:
“We love our manicotti, our deck of cards, and spending all day together making the perfect sauce, which usually ends in a battle over whose sauce tastes the best.”
“What the mother fuck are people thinking? Do they suddenly undergo some emergency lobotomy, making them lose all common sense?”
“You aren’t that ugly.”
“We’re gonna get married aren’t we?”
(by Carol Ann Albright-Eastman)
If you get as invested in a read as much as I do you will need some tissues but don’t be scared that you may shed a few tears it is very cathartic. Shelby will have you laughing and you also get to meet her siblings and Chance. Chance is the guy that will have you smiling and steal your heart! But will he be able to steal Shelby’s heart? Will she ever be willing to open up or will her by her Aunt Lila’s passing be too much for her? What will it take to get to open her eyes and heart? To live and not mourn? I hope you read it and love it as much as I did. If you lost just one loved one that you were close to you should read this book because you will be able to relate.
The idea for Always There
A true story by: Carol Ann Albright-Eastman
(Names are changed to protect the innocent.)
When I was in fifth grade, I had a little boyfriend, “Tim.” Once a month, at the fifth grade roller skating parties, “Tim” and I couple-skated and didn’t let go of each other’s hands after the couple-skate ended. “Tim” and I often held hands for the duration of the skating party. Then, with about 10 minutes left of the skating party, he and I went into the coatroom, among the many different coats, and kissed each other, while “Totally Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler or “Baby Come To Me,” by Patti Austin and James Ingram played in the background, signaling the last romantic skate of the night. This happened once a month in fifth grade, starting in October of 1983 and ending in February of 1984.
On February 24, 1984, my dad died. I was ten-years-old at the time. At the March skating party, “Tim” and I skated as usual, but when it was time to go into the coatroom for our monthly kiss, I refused. He and my friends were confused. I just merely told them, “My father is watching me now.” From that moment on, I always felt that my dad was watching over me, and I didn’t want to do anything that would upset or disappointment him. I lived my life pretty wholesomely and used that same line many times thereafter.
Then one day, about half way through high school, my friend actually asked, “But what if he’s not?” I blew off the question as asinine and irrelevant, but always kept it at the back of my head. What if our loved ones aren’t watching over us?
When my mother was sick, terminally ill, and nearing death, we gave her messages to give to our dad. That is when I was struck with the idea of my book. What if the people in Heaven, our loved ones, just sit in Heaven waiting for new people to die and fill them in on the happenings here on Earth? What if we are their real-life soap operas, and they just wait to learn how our lives turn out and what happens to us?
After my mom died, I spent many nights lying in my bed trying to determine what I would want her sisters, my aunts, to tell her when they finally met up with her. I wondered how they would spin the tales of my life to her and my father. It became important for me to reach my goals and live my life in a way that would make both of my parents proud of the job they did while they were still here, guiding me, teaching me, and loving me. It almost gave me more comfort to think that they weren’t watching every mistake and mishap, but were filled in on the happy, successful end results. Losing a parent is excruciating and horrifying; losing both parents before you turn 21-years-old is debilitating and earth-shattering. I needed something, anything, to keep me going and put my life, the life the both of them created, on the right track. Now that my 40th birthday is nearing, I’ve realized that I have in fact lived my life the way my parents would’ve wanted me to. I took the lessons they taught me and let those lessons guide me into a loving mother, devoted wife, compassionate teacher, and faithful friend—just as my mom and dad had taught me.