This is a powerful story of a family that deals with a tragic illness of one of their children. It’s not a story with a happy ending, and there are moments that will shake even the strongest person. But if you take the time to ponder its implications, you’ll be treated to a powerful message about love and faith.
The Fileccia family does not consider themselves special, but they embark on an extraordinary journey when they travel to China to adopt Xing Dan Nang (shortly thereafter renamed Candace Kate), an eight-year-old blind girl. They soon discover that the child also has some learning issues, and the time in the orphanage has stunted her emotional growth.
But this highly religious family presses on, and soon Candace blossoms in the warm and loving embrace of a family that truly values her and grows from the experience of dealing with her challenges.
If only the story had ended there. But soon, the family discovers that Candace has a withering brain disease that stunts her growth and her intellectual development. They cope, but the inevitable deterioration, battle with healthcare, and ultimate defeat is a draining tale whose only redemption is a renewal of the belief that God never gives you more than you can handle.
The book is not a standard narrative, but consists of journal entries that span two years. “I don’t include every journal entry,” says the author. “Some are too painful, and some would not make sense. Sometimes I recount funny stories; sometimes I share my anger; and sometimes my entries are just the ugly truth of the moment. The narrative fills in the missing pieces and gives a glimpse of a normal family that did nothing heroic other than love a little girl.”
Writing in the journal became the author’s way of coping, and the story moves along to a powerful moment when the deteriorating Candace asks her mother the ultimate question: “Am I going to die?”
The answer and Candace’s reply are overwhelmingly emotional moments, and they will hit home with any parent that has faced tribulations within their family. While this is not an easy read, those who take the journey with the Fileccias will be amazed at their faith and courage, and draw inspiration from the supportive actions of friends and family that rally around them in their time of need.
The family has a business called “A Journey Through Learning” in which it presents hands-on curriculum products for homeschooling families. It has more than 300 products and continues to grow.
That’s what a reader will ultimately experience when they read “More Than a Memory.” It’s a journey through the valley of the shadow of death, but you will emerge having learned a powerful lesson about faith and family.