Dear J.K. Rowling,
I read the entire Harry Potter series during the summer of 2013, the same time that I watched my beloved grandfather lose his life after a 10 month long battle with esophageal cancer. It ripped me to pieces seeing my grandma, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins grieve so intensely over his death. I remember seeing them try to hold back their tears for my brothers and me, although the red splotchy spots on their faces were hard to ignore. I remember watching my grandpa lay in a bed of flowers, motionless, in an endless sleep. I remember kneeling in front of his coffin, head bent. I remember.....................................................................
It seems like just yesterday that I read your books. The blow of grandpa's death was passing, but the grief was still fresh in my heart. My family had not yet moved on, and I was still trapped in a cage of sorrow. As I opened your first book in the series, I felt an instant connection between Harry and myself. His parents were killed by the dark wizard Voldemort when he was just one year old. He was devastated by his parents' death. It seemed that the grief both Harry and I felt over the loss of people we love united us.
Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends, once said, "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself." She of course was referring to Voldemort, as many people were too terrified to speak his name out of fear of his wickedness. However, when I think about this statement and relate it to my life, the "thing" Hermione referred to is cancer. I admit it, cancer scares me. As the word forms on my lips, a rush of terror always runs up my spine. Not just my grandfather, but many people I know and love are living with or have been claimed by cancer. Just as every character in the series feared Voldemort, I fear cancer.
I will never forget the many hours I spent snug in my bed reading, reading, reading your books. I was able to escape the grief of the world, and dive into one of my own creation: my imagination. Your books were the building blocks of my castle. A castle in my head that no one could take away or take down. They opened my mind to new, positive thoughts. I found a key to open the cage of heartache I was trapped inside of.
Your books also gave me hope. Hope that my grandpa wasn't truly gone. I know he is in our hearts and lives there every day. Now, when my family sees an especially bright and beautiful sunset, we all hurry to the window to admire its color. "Grandpa painted that," we say.
Now, I remember my grandpa's love for farming. I remember countless tractor rides with him by my side. I remember his soft green chair he would sit in after a long day's work. I remember climbing into it with him, and feeling safe inside his arms. And, I remember the books that helped me through this time. I'll always remember you, J.K. Rowling.
With love and admiration,