I am here today to talk about a really neat book. Recently, I read Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson. This memoir is pretty well known in the LDS community. Stephanie is the author of a popular blog called nieniedialogues.com where she shares her faith, family, and love with the world. I was excited to check out her book and to learn more of her story.
Heaven is Here follows the true story of Stephanie and her husband Christian as they meet, fall in love, and begin a family together. In 2008, tragedy strikes as Christian and Stephanie are in a serious plan crash, both suffering serious burns. Stephanie was burned over 80% of her body and was in medically induced coma for several months. When she wakes up, she must go through intense therapy to learn to move, walk and eat again. But beyond the vast physical difficulties she must endure and overcome, Stephanie must also overcome intense emotional and spiritual questions.
The memoir is organized into three sections chronicling separate parts of Stephanie’s life. Each section begins with a beautiful montage of pictures from that time period. She begins with life before the accident–a golden childhood, her fairy tale love story, and beautiful family life. The second section details her initial difficult recovery in hospitals in Phoenix and Salt Lake City and discusses some of her darkest days after the accident. Finally, Stephanie ends with her experiences transitioning back into a home with her husband and children and how she works towards living a more normal life again.
Stephanie has an absolutely beautiful style of writing. She is honest with her emotions–both heart warming and devastating. I felt like she was my friend and I was experiencing the aftermath of the accident. I was scared when her eyes were sewn shut to protect them and when she went into surgery after surgery. I cried when Stephanie’s daughter wouldn’t look at her, and her baby son didn’t know she was his mother. I smiled when Christian stayed by her side throughout the process and took care of their whole family so they could be together.
My favorite aspect of this memoir is the way Stephanie’s faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel helps her overcome these intense and deep trials. I love the way she finds hope and happiness even in difficult and overwhelming difficulties. And I finished this book feeling hopeful and happy too.
A beautiful story and incredible journey! Highly recommended!