A local retired teacher has published a book about the loss of her adult daughter and how she sought comfort through her Christian beliefs.
Paula Dickerson, wife to Van Buren Superintendent Merle Dickerson, writes about the pain of losing a child in her new memoir "Glory Came in Amber Rays: A Mother’s Spiritual Journey into the Heavenlies."
The book is published by CrossBooks and is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
A book signing will be Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Solid Rock Christian Book Store in Fort Smith.
Paula Dickerson was born and raised in the small town of Wickes, Ark., on her grandfather’s farm. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in counseling from Henderson State University.
Now a retired teacher, Dickerson has written about how she was able to emerge through the tremendous grief of losing her daughter to "glorify God’s name."
Dickerson, a dedicated mom and Christian, relished her relationship with her only child, Amber CarLeigh, she said.
"She brought pure joy and sunshine to my heart from the very beginning of her life," Dickerson said of her daughter.
When Amber died at the age of 29, "it took God’s intervention" to bring her back to her feet, Dickerson said. In her new memoir, Dickerson shares her lessons on love, acceptance and faith.
In "Glory Came in Amber Rays," Dickerson writes of their life together, exposing the special ties between mother and daughter, and of the heartbreak she faced after Amber’s death.
In what she called "knee-buckling grief," Dickerson said she fell into prayer, seeking comfort from the only source she felt was able to provide it.
"I had prayed continuously for days that God would save her," remembers Dickerson. "I crashed when she left and prayed to God for Him to take me with her."
Though Dickerson said God did not grant that wish, but she was allowed "a glimpse into the heavenlies to watch a brilliant vision of two angels carrying my child to heaven."
Though that vision did not rescue Dickerson from her grief, she said, "it has provided constant reassurance that my prayers were answered and Amber does live. Some day God will call out my name, and I will rise to meet Him and Amber in the heavens."
Dickerson shares her story in "Glory Came in Amber Rays" for the glory of God and with the hope that it may bring others to know God’s love, she said.