“My Emily wasn’t born perfect – or so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the immediate conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the devastating diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think.” Matt Patterson, author of My Emily
Holly Michael’s Review of My Emily: The Apostle John, at the end of John 21:25 writes: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
You can almost hear John’s sigh because he realizes his inadequacy as a writer to put down the words that could possibly tell the whole story of Christ, His miracles, and His love for humanity. I feel like John, after reading My Emily, written by Emily’s father, Matt Patterson. Words are inadequate to give this book a review it deserves.
So I say this: Read it. Next to the Bible, it will be one of the most powerful books you will ever read.
After I read My Emily, I imagined a scene in Heaven, before Emily came to earth. It goes like this: God’s new creation, an adorable golden-haired little beauty, stands before her Heavenly Father with the light and love of The Creator reflecting in her almond-shaped blue eyes. She’s one of the special beings He’s created with a heart that has the highest capacity to love, and a heartwarming never-ending smile. I imagine Emily giving her yes, her fiat, to a mission to leave Heaven for just a little while, to be born into a particular family, to touch their hearts and lives and forever change them, as well as leave behind a legacy that will bless humanity.
Then I imagine Emily says, “But how will I reach so many people in such a short time? How will so many come to know about this truth, wisdom, and love that you want me to carry to them?”
Then I imagine God says, “I’ve already sent one ahead of you and blessed him with a special gift for writing. I’ve been preparing him.”
“Who is this one?” Emily asks.
“He is your father on earth and he will love you as I love you.”
At this time, only God and Emily know the whole story. We creatures on earth are jaded, confused, selfish creatures, having lost the innocence of childhood and knowledge of Heaven and of truth and God. We forget once we arrive on this treacherous planet. Life deals us tough blows. We fail to understand God’s mercy and grace. We are no longer tuned into the wisdom of God, as a child like Emily is. That’s why the Bible says you must be like little children to enter into the Kingdom of God. God and Emily know the truth.
And then brave Emily, knowing, like Jesus, she will also suffer pain on earth, comes to a special family: The Pattersons.
This is the story I imagine; the story before the story that Matt Patterson so eloquently shares about his daughter, Emily, diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Though the world may not see her as a blessing, the Pattersons embrace her as a gift from Heaven. The story doesn’t stop there. Matt (a newspaper editor in the Air Force) and his family, two years later, must courageously endure a battle with Emily’s diagnosis of Leukemia, a disease that threatens to steal her from them.
Matt Patterson, in My Emily, says, “He perhaps sent this little, unassuming angel to instruct me and many others about what’s truly important in life.”
I, too, believe that Emily was sent by God to teach us about hope and love. My baby sister, Amy, also diagnosed with Down Syndrome, was loved and she loved back in greater measure. Like Emily, she left our family too soon. But, oh, the lessons she left behind.
Like the lessons Amy taught me, the lessons in this little book are deep and meaningful. My Emily is a story about joy and sadness, hope and courage, and above all, about love.
You fall in love with Emily. You weep with Matt and his family through their grief. You get out your highlighter, and highlight nearly every line in the book. And as soon as you finish reading this little book you will want to read it all over again. And you will.
Matt, shares this, near the end of the book: “Now that I have had time to look back, I realize that God was kind to patiently wait for me to see the full blessing of Emily’s life just as He planned it. And while I slandered Him, He led me toward healing.”
So who is this book for?
To begin with, it’s for:
- Those who have lost a child or loved one.
- A parent of a Down Syndrome child, or parent of any special needs child.
- Anyone suffering grief or dealing with a child who is suffering.
- Those who want to know how to pray in the midst of suffering, and how to draw closer to the Heart of God, through all things.
- Those who raise their fists toward Heaven and cry, “Why?”
This list is just a beginning. Not only is My Emily for suffering souls, it’s for everyone, especially those who ask questions; the seekers of truth and knowledge of the meaning of life.
This book will change your life. It’s filled with lessons of love, brought by Emily, given by our Creator, our Father in Heaven, who is Love.
*A portion of the proceeds of the book, My Emily, will be donated to the My Emily Foundation which partners with organizations and individuals to assist extraordinary families with special needs children, those who are battling pediatric cancers, as well as parents who are grieving the loss of a little one. You can learn more about The My Emily Foundation and contribute at www.myemily.org.