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A common question asked of authors is where the ideas for their stories come from. In the case of Before I Go, the inspiration came from a dream.


My mom passed away the year after I graduated college. She was just fifty-two years old. Lung cancer had gone undetected until it spread to most of her body, including her brain. She suffered a stroke that robbed her of the ability to speak, and left her without the use of the right side of her body. Wheelchair-bound and bedridden, my mother’s time in hospice was a difficult few weeks for my siblings and me. It was especially tough on our grandfather, who helplessly watched his daughter fade away.


A strange thing happened, though, a few weeks after my mom died—I had a vivid dream about her. I remember that dream today as clearly as if just waking from it. In the dream, my mother came to me and told me one thing: I’m okay.


When I woke, the sadness I had felt during the previous weeks was gone, replaced by a calm reassurance that my mom was in a better place. Somewhere with no illness or disease. A place where her ability to speak was restored, and where she was no longer confined to a wheelchair. A place where she could walk and run and dance. I woke with a peaceful feeling in my heart that told me I no longer needed to worry about mom. She was doing just fine.


In the twenty plus years since I experienced that dream, I’ve lost others who were close to me. Grandparents, a beloved great Aunt, and a dear family friend. I’ve had equally vivid dreams about each of these people, all of them telling me one simple thing—that they were “okay.” It seems my mom started a trend.


So when I sat down to write Before I Go, a story of love and loss and the powerful ways in which our lives are forever tied to the loved ones who pass before us, I did so with those dreams in mind and those loved ones in my heart. I hope this story touches you in some special way, and that you love reading it as much as I loved writing it.


Brian Charles

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