Long before I had a publishing contract on Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude, I could visualize what I wanted on the cover of the book. I had three ideas in my mind: a particular picture of Sam, heads of garlic and/or Sam’s favorite Tree of Life image.
Then, I signed a publishing contract on the book, and as part of that contract, the cover design process was delineated. So when I had my design conversation with the publisher on July 3rd, I gave my input, and then waited for 2-3 design concepts to come back to me for my input.
This Monday, three designs arrived via email. All three were absolutely stunning, very different from each other, but stunning. Any of the three would have made me proud if they had graced the cover of this book that is so important to me. But one of the three? As soon as I opened the file, I started to cry. It was exactly what I wanted.
So then I did as I had promised, I took all three designs to my family, and without giving my opinion of which one I wanted, I asked them for their thoughts. All of them said exactly what I had said — they loved all three, but that one was exactly what it should be. All of us teared up looking at the favorite design, filled with both the absolute joy and pride of this accomplishment, and the absolute unending pain of missing Sam.
This is the image we picked, the perfect cover for this book. This was one of Sam’s favorite pictures of himself, taken by his friend Allie when she was taking his senior high school photo. This is how we like to see Sam now in our minds, lying on that beautiful bench in the sunshine, surrounded by clouds, perfectly at peace.
I am proud to share the cover:
And even now, after having looked at it at least a hundred times over the last few days, it still makes my breath catch, and still makes me tear up — with joy and grief.