Out of tragedy comes comfort | PostIndependent.com

Out of tragedy comes comfort

It’s said that out of tragedy can come good, but it is another thing to make it happen.

With the publication of her children’s book, “James’ Magic Blanket,” Glenwood Springs author Jean Edmonds has done just that.

Out of the unexpected death of her 30-year-old son James in December of 1998, Edmonds has crafted a sweet, simple story about hope and comfort.

“After James died, I wanted something to remember him by,” she said. “He was always helping people from the time he was in kindergarten.”

But time passed and she struggled with her grief.

Then one night she had a dream.

“I don’t normally remember dreams, but it kept coming to me,” she explained. “I think subconsciously I wanted to do something for James. I didn’t want him to die and go away.”

She dreamed a story about a little boy named James whose mother and father want to have a large family and so they buy a big new house. The first night in their new home, as James’ mother tucks him into bed, he makes sure he has his blanket tucked under his head. It is a comfort and he soon falls asleep.

Over the years James’ parents adopt kids. The first night for each one is hard. They are lonely in this strange place, and James gives them his blanket to sleep with, knowing it will give them the comfort it had given him.

James’ family also brings many foster children in to live with them. There are so many James can’t give each one his blanket, so he cuts it up into small pieces so each child can have a little blanket of their own.

Tucked into the back of the book is a folded square of fleecy teddy bear blanket for the reader.

Edmonds, who is a real estate agent, had not written before. But the dream story had such a hold on her, she felt compelled to put it in writing.

“Some days I could work on it and some days it was just too hard,” she said.

She also wanted it illustrated, but came up empty-handed in her attempts to find an illustrator for her book.

So Edmonds decided to do the illustrations herself. Although she paints watercolors as a hobby, Edmonds was unsure if she could do the job.

But friend and professional artist Nancy Martin of Glenwood Springs encouraged her.

After looking at her first attempts, Martin said, “Jean, it’s yours and it’s sweet. Keep doing it.”

It took over a year to finish the 12 watercolor illustrations.

The next step was to find a publisher for the book. Edmonds soon realized she did not want to turn her work of love over to anyone who would change it in some way.

She then decided to publish it herself and so took her manuscript and paintings for printing at Gran Farnum and Copy Copy in Glenwood Springs. Now, 200 books later, she is ready to debut her book.

She will give two copies to each of her relatives and friends.

“They can keep one and give one to help children,” she said, just like James. “This makes me feel that he’ll live on with a lot of people.”

Edmonds also will give copies to the Advocate Safehouse Project and the local libraries.

She will be selling her book at the Cozy Christmas Bazaar from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Hotel Colorado.

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