You know writing a memoir is like dumping your entire life out on the curb and seeing who stops by to browse. It took me at least two years to write this eyes-wide-open book and editing was the hardest part. Unlike my daily newspaper writing, I decided to follow my own story for 18 years and when I finally sat down to unfold those notebooks, I found a story about a mother and her initial loneliness, teary-eyed milestones, a troubled school district, unexpected kindness from strangers, and a reason why “Meredith & Me” is a universal story.
Sarah Barnes and her husband, Jim Hemphill, had big plans. He was a rocker with an eye on law school. She was a rising journalist. They traveled, laughed, loved, made plans, and married. But when their daughter, Meredith, was seven months old, they received a devastating diagnosis about her brain, and happily-ever-after became differently-ever-after from that point on. Although they faced many obstacles, their determined daughter helped them find hope and humor in the face of unthinkable challenge.
I have had the privilege of writing about my daughter for 17 years in a column called “A Different Road” for the Austin American-Statesman. I’ve written about her first steps, her first dance and the first time I realized she did not want the life I had envisioned for her. You can now read all these columns here. I will continue to write for the Statesman on an occasional basis.
—Sarah Barnes, author of Meredith & Me