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  • Dixie Frantz

The Elusive Book Title

Initially, I imagined the title for Mimi’s book would be An Angel Lived Among Us. I always thought of her as “my little angel,” so it seemed to fit. About six months ago, I was strolling through the local bookstore when a book caught my eye. I purchased it mostly because of the title. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalamithi, is a most excellent memoir.


It made me think perhaps Mimi’s book title needed some attention. I don’t want potential readers to assume from the title it is solely about a little earthly spiritual being. There is a spiritual component, but also social justice, empathy, many reflective teachable moments, adapted family life, construction projects, frustration, joy, struggle, laughter, and heartache. I do not sugarcoat anything.


In my search for a new title, I did some brainstorming with my kids and daughter-in-law. We hurled lots of phrases on the wall to see what would stick. We twisted and turned them around and inside out. But nothing stuck. Finally, someone close to me who knew I still visit Mimi and Rick at the cemetery each week … I can’t remember who … said I should ask Mimi.

Mimi was known for her hugs, especially with Santa!

On a Thursday morning, I sat on the floor in front of her niche. I asked Mimi for help with her book title. After revisiting with my daughter Katie in a conversation a few days later, it came to us. I was furiously scribbling words and phrases when the title was staring right back at me. The two words that defined Mimi perfectly were “joyful” and “embrace.” That was it. Her book title would be A Joyful Embrace. Did Mimi assist in inspiring the title?

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