A warm love bytes welcome to author Jo Ramsey joining us today here at Love Bytes to talk about Harmony Ink release “Dolphins in the Mud”.
Welcome Jo 🙂
Love Can’t Fix Everything
It’s human nature to want to make everything perfect for those we love. We want to take away their pain, make them happy, do everything we can to give them a wonderful life. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent with their child, or someone with their partner. If we love them, we want everything to be great.
But sometimes no matter how badly we want to fix things, we can’t. Love just isn’t enough to make some things better, or make them go away.
I have two close friends who have each lost a spouse to cancer recently. Each of them was completely in love with their spouse and did everything they could to keep their spouse happy and comfortable. They prayed. They tried to bargain for their loved one to have a longer life. They showed their spouse all the love they could. But in the end, love couldn’t take away the cancer.
I’m a trauma survivor, as is my older offspring. Both of us have wonderful men in our lives who would do anything they could to end the panic attacks and flashbacks. Mine holds me and comforts me through anxiety, depression, and nightmares that leave me shaking and sometimes unable to remember for a few minutes that I’m not in that traumatic space anymore. Always complete acceptance and understanding. Always complete love.
But it isn’t enough. Love doesn’t take away trauma. Someone who has experienced abuse or assault isn’t magically cured in the arms of their true love. It doesn’t work that way.
When a child sees a parent struggling or suffering, it can be even more difficult. The child loves their parent and wants to make everything better. Depending on the child’s age, they might not understand why their love isn’t helping their parent, and might blame themselves for not doing enough. They might not even understand what the parent is struggling with.
In my new novel Dolphins in the Mud, Chris Talberman is caught up in trying to help and take care of three people he loves. His mother is constantly overwhelmed by taking care of Chris’s autistic nine-year-old sister Cece. Since their move to a new town six months ago, Chris’s mother has isolated herself from their neighbors and won’t admit to her husband how much help she needs with Cece. Chris is the only one she turns to, and sometimes she lashes out at him out of frustration or exhaustion.
Mrs. Talberman is also caught in the trap of trying to fix everything for someone she loves. Cece is severely autistic, and Mrs. Talberman longs for a daughter she can spend time with doing things other than physical therapy and deescalating tantrums. She wants Cece to have the best life she can, and she goes above and beyond in trying to provide what Cece needs. Cece was the reason for their move; the family relocated to an area where Cece would be able to attend a school for autistic children.
At the same time, Mrs. Talberman is ashamed of Cece’s behavior, and ashamed of herself for being ashamed. She loves Cece, but constantly fights the belief that she should do better as Cece’s mother. That she should love her more. That love should make everything better.
Chris also loves Cece, and so he takes on responsibilities that aren’t his in order to try to make things better for both Cece and their mother. He pushes himself beyond what he can handle at times so his mother can rest and Cece will be happy. He loves them both, and although he consciously knows he can’t make everything perfect, he still wants to.
Chris’s new friend Noah has rapidly taken a place in Chris’s heart as well. It probably isn’t love; at least, Chris doesn’t think it is since he and Noah are just getting to know each other. But he definitely likes and cares about Noah, and he wants to make things better for him, too. Noah is also isolated from others, and desperately needs someone to talk to and spend time with. Chris wants to be that someone.
But Noah is coping with an untreated mental illness, and no amount of friendship or love is going to change that. His parents have chosen not to allow Noah to take medication, and aside from Noah’s doctor, only one person outside the immediate family even knows that Noah has bipolar disorder. Although this might seem cruel, or even abusive, it’s another case of someone trying to make everything perfect for someone they love. Noah’s parents want to protect him from the stigma of having bipolar disorder, and they want to make him better, though it might not seem so since they won’t allow him to be treated.
Chris rapidly realizes that no matter how much he cares about Noah, he can’t fix him. He can’t make things better for Noah. Or for his mother or Cece. It’s a tough thing for Chris to accept, but he learns that love isn’t enough to make things better for everyone. Sometimes more help is needed, and sometimes, fortunately, that help is available.
How can a young man rescue everyone when he’s entangled in his own net?
Chris Talberman is tired. Tired of taking responsibility for his autistic nine-year-old sister, Cece. Tired of his mother disappearing for hours at a time. Tired of having no friends and an oblivious father.
When a pod of dolphins is stranded in the cove by Chris’s home, his life changes. It starts when Cece runs toward the water’s edge and Chris must pursue her. That’s where Chris meets Noah Silver. Noah’s life of travel and homeschooling intrigues Chris, and the two begin a friendship they both hope will lead to more.
But when Chris’s mother abandons the family, Chris’s responsibilities increase exponentially. He’s only sixteen, but he knows how to take care of Cece better than their father. Chris wants to lean on Noah for support, but Noah is hiding an untreated mental illness—which could lead to tragedy.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder.