Of the many sad things about Amanda dying, one of the cruelest is she can no longer read.
Amanda loves to read. Her parents will tell you that Amanda basically taught herself how to read when she’d play phonics records and practiced sounding out words. At a young age, her mom would buy her a book from a store in Burlington and she’d finish it by the time the car pulled into their driveway 45 minutes or so away.
The bookshelves in her room back in Cambridge, Vermont, and our home in Silver Spring are filled with many of her favorites. There’s too many to list here, but when we were dating she encouraged me to read Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” It’s the best novel I’ve ever read.
So as I thought about how Amanda can no longer enjoy the pleasure of a book, I read to her some poems from Mary Oliver (a friend had given her the book of poems “Felicity” on a recent visit). We also finished listening to a recording of Lewis’ “The Last Battle.” Amanda had listened to the Narnia books during her recent hospital stay. She discussed with a friend, the same one who gave her Oliver’s poems, about how she always felt a bit jealous of Reepicheep when the little heroic mouse chooses to go to Aslan’s country in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
We do see Reepicheep again at the end of The Last Battle as Aslan leads the characters back to the one true Narnia. The book ends:
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
(This blog post is written and posted by Amanda’s husband, Charles).