In the gardens of memory, in the palace of dreams, that is where you and I shall meet.—Mad Hatter to Alice 

Why authors tackle the subjects they do is a bit of a mystery, but often it is to make sense of life’s vicissitudes. In 1996, my oldest daughter Rachel survived a traumatic brain injury after a horrific car accident. While I was spared the heartbreak of losing her, three of my closest friends were not so lucky. Lori Zepponi had three children under the age of five when she moved into the house across the street from me. We were there for each other through good times and bad,
but neither of us could have imagined that she would lose her daughter Valerie in 2001 and her son Ryan 17 years later, a cruel twist of fate for which there is no explanation. I met Linda Bloom in high school. She called her son Matthew her “beautiful boy,” and she missed him every day for the rest of her life after he was killed by a drunk driver, on her birthday no less. See what I mean about life’s vicissitudes? Claudia Clemente was my college roommate. She and her husband Frank raised eight children, four of whom were adopted. A few years ago, they lost their son Cale, who had been part of their family since he was two years old. The resilience of these remarkable women in the face of unspeakable loss was the inspiration for this novel. Sadly, two of them will never read this book, which they championed from the beginning. Linda died of pneumonia in 2020, Lori of complications from Covid in 2021. Here’s the thing about old friends: They are your memory keepers, the people who know you better than anyone. I would give anything to hear Linda’s contagious laugh again or see Lori’s name show up on my iPhone as an incoming call. What brings me comfort is imagining that they have been reunited with the children they loved, perhaps in another dimension beyond time and space where nothing is ever really lost.