Hey, there, Roots! I wanted to pick something special for my 400th review. Something written by somebody who's been very kind to my stories. And something by somebody whose stories never seem to get as much love as I think they deserve. You definitely fit the bill on both accounts, my friend. So, with no further ado, here goes.
When I first got into the story and figured out the back story that went with it, I honestly didn't think I was going to like it. I've never been a big fan of pairing either Harry or Ginny with anyone else. But the more I kept reading, the more I realized that this is still a Harry/Ginny love story, just a very different sort. It's not a story of romance, it's a story of amazing devotion. It's a story of how two people can realize that they're not meant to share every moment with one another, but still be there for one another when it means most.
It was heart-breaking to watch Ginny decline as the story went on. It just killed me inside. Even though much of the essence of who she was still remained, seeing her lose all of the context that surrounded that essence was horribly sad. When she could no longer remember Albus's death, I think I felt as devastated as Harry. When she couldn't remember her family any longer, it was like seeing a dear friend dying.
I really had no idea what to expect from Daphne at the beginning. In most fan fic, she's portrayed as shallow, arrogant and not very bright. In this story, the woman is a saint! She willingly shares Harry until the end. And it isn't even as though she's sharing him with Ginny. That would be bad enough, but it would also be bounded in a way. She knows as well as anybody that Ginny won't be getting better. What makes it even worse is that she's sharing Harry with the memory of who Ginny used to be. That's who Harry sees as he takes care of his dying ex-wife. And that person isn't going away just because Ginny dies. Like I said, Daphne's a saint.
You weren't overly kind in your portrayal of Hermione here, which was an interesting choice. When she chastises Ron, it was perhaps necessary, but the way that she went about it came off as a bit heartless. His baby sister is slowly dying. Of course he's going to be nervous and put his foot in his mouth sometimes. And the fact that she would even question the healers about letting Ginny's family linger past visiting hours... Sheesh, pull the rule book out of your... erm, hand. And put it away!
When the end finally comes, it had both the sadness of losing a loved one, but also the immense sense of relief in knowing that the person is no longer suffering. You did a remarkable job with this. I lost my great-grandmother after watching her decline for 3 years with Alzheimer's. She was such a wonderful, loving, lively, funny lady. A huge influence on me when I was growing up and in some ways she was my best friend. It tore me up to see her gradually forget everything, including me. I remember feeling sort of happy for her at her funeral, because I believed -- rightly or wrongly -- that she had gotten everything back that she lost.
I don't know what else to say. This story was so powerful and, at least for me, so personal. Your writing was spot on. I can't really recommend anything. Thank you for a wonderful and very moving read.
Author's Response: I'm so honoured to be your 400th review! Your stories definitely deserved the praise -they're very well written and so very very interesting to read.
I'm so very pleased that you ended up liking the way I wrote the "romance" in this story. The divorce between Harry and Ginny put some people off the story. I actually got the idea for this story from an article I read in the newspaper about divorced couples caring for each other when one of them fell ill because of limitations in the availability of nursing homes. When I read the article I was moved by the kindness and caring that were the primary motivators behind these actions - and then I got to thinking about the level of caring Harry and Ginny shared. I really liked the way you put their relationship: amazing devotion. I think it suits them very well.
It was very difficult for me to write Ginny's decline, to reduce her from what she was into what she became. However, I spent a lot of time researching for this story and I knew that the ending wouldn't be happy and so I had to perservere.
I'm glad that you liked Daphne's portrayal in this story. When I was writing this story, I really wanted Harry and Ginny to have divorced (I wanted to show the strength of their relationship on a field outside of marriage.) and I needed Harry to have a wife so as to make it clear that there was no chance of them re-marrying. However, I didn't want to give Harry a wife that would involve complicated back-stories, so I couldn't choose any character that J. K. Rowling had given a future to. Daphne was the first person I thought of that fit the bill and I liked her. I didn't even think of her portrayals in other stories - I wanted to give Harry a wife that understood and supported him through his trials.
You know, as I was writing this I never thought that I was writing Hermione in a negative light, though I can definitely see where you're coming from. Looking back I believe I wrote her the way I did not only to show the difficulties that arise from knowing a person with Alzheimer's but to also show a small glimpse of Hermione's way of coping with the problem - she fell back to her books, which have never failed her. But yes, I do agree that the rule breaking was a little much.
I'm glad that you like the ending. I struggled for a long time as I was writing the story as to how I was going to end it - I didn't feel that it would be right to show everyone's devastation about her death or to jump too quickly to "hope for the future". I tried to strike a balance between the two and I'm glad that it came through.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read and review this story. Your review was very thoughtful and thank you so much for all of your compliments.