Marlena Chavira-Medford Staff Writer
Del Mar book publisher Bettie Youngs is in the business of storytelling but it’s one story in particular, pulled from the pages of her own life, that was recently featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers.” The book is the latest edition in the Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, which launched in 1993 and has sold more than 112 million copies.
The short story, titled “Beyond the Sunset,” is about Youngs’ mother, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given three months to live. Youngs said her mother spent those next few months “closing down her life,” making peace with everyone she loved and getting her final affairs in order.
“One day, I came over to my mother’s house and some of the framed photos were turned over, and others were still on display,” Youngs recalled.
When Youngs asked why, her mother explained she was “revisiting these treasured memories one at a time.” When she was ready to part with a memory, she turned the photo face down — and if she wasn’t ready to let it go yet, the photo stayed standing.
“My mother was a Christian woman, and she knew God was calling her home. But letting go of this world was a process for her. It was inspiring to watch my mother be so diligent to the life she lived, and to the life she was leaving.”
A few days later, all the photos in the house had been turned over and Youngs’ mother had passed away. The experience, Youngs said, taught her “to not take this journey too seriously,” and it’s made her admire her mother even more.
“I got to live with someone whose convictions were not only spoken but lived,” she said. “She believed each person was a destined soul, and she treated every person like an angel unaware.”
The book features more than 100 short stories like Youngs,’ all tales of inspiration and love rooted in motherhood. Youngs, who has authored 36 books on everything from parenting to personal memoirs, said she hopes the story resonates with others.
“Words are powerful, and they transport us to a place inside our consciousness. When I hear that this story has touched someone, it reminds me of why I read.”
And it’s one of the reasons she now runs her own publishing company, Bettie Youngs Books Publishing Company, which focuses on fascinating profiles, such as “The Maybelline Story,” a history of the family that launched a makeup empire, and harrowing life journey stories, including “Out of the Transylvania Night,” Aura Imbarus’ story about living under the iron fist of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
For more information about “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers,” visit chickensoup.com, and for more information about Bettie Youngs Books Publishing Company, visit bettieyoungsbooks.com.