Grieving the loss of a mother can be a difficult experience for many, but for some that blow can be devastating.
Such was the case for George Town resident, teacher Janet Dash-Harris, when her mother Gwen Harris died in March 2015 from complications of a stroke while Ms. Dash-Harris was making preparations for a caretaker.
Out of her grief, Ms. Dash-Harris captured her healing journey through writing, “Frankly Speaking: 120 Matter-Of-Fact And Thought Provoking Readings,” published Jan. 1 by local publisher CLM Publishing.
She calls the book, “An inspiration from mum.”
An ardent sports enthusiast and former netballer who enjoys music, traveling, reading, as well as writing acrostic puzzles, Ms. Dash-Harris officially launched her book at the First Assembly of God Church in George Town in March.
As the title states, the book contains 120 readings and devotionals, some of which are autobiographical, and grew out of Ms. Dash-Harris’s attempts to encourage herself and others as she faced many of life’s challenges. Her efforts quickly blossomed into posting full-length devotionals and Bible verses on WhatsApp, a phone application.
The first verse Bible verse she sent out was Psalm 20:6 on April 15, 2015.
“The verses were cathartic for me, as I found that as I sought to encourage others, I started to feel much better,” she said.
Ms. Dash-Harris was inspired to share her musings with others by turning her postings into a book, which she completed in seven months.
“I used my own personal experiences to encourage others, as well as using catchy devotional titles, like Be a Dog Christian (when discussing loyalty), LOL, CB4C, The Voice, Deal or No Deal, Watch Out for the Iguanas, Tough But Good and Whatever (when discussing my husband’s illness),” she said.
Now firmly rooted in Cayman, where she resides with her husband, Lincoln, and son Jamal, Ms. Dash-Harris was born in Coventry, England, where she lived with her parents Elton and Gwen and siblings, Cynthia, Gloria and Joseph.
On the recommendation of the family doctor, her parents subsequently decided to move the family back to the warm climate of Barbados, the land of their birth.
In 1986, she entered Erdiston Teachers’ College and was elected president of the Student Guild; she graduated two years later as student of the year. It was while there, in 1987, she gave her heart to the Lord, at the Emmanuel Baptist Church. She then entered the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, in 1989 where she studied part–time, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Linguistics with Education.
She taught for 12 years in Barbados at the West Terrace Primary School and spent one year at the Parkinson Memorial School teaching English and Spanish.
In 1988, she migrated to the Cayman Islands where she currently teaches Spanish at Clifton Hunter High School. In 2009, she received the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching at the middle school level. She has headed her school’s Spanish Department since 2006 and is a former CXC examiner in Spanish and adjunct lecturer in Spanish at the International College of the Cayman Islands.
Outside of work, Ms. Harris serves her church as an usher and Sunday school teacher and has served as a member of the board of the First Assembly of God Church in Grand Cayman.
Ms. Harris’s is book available at the Christian Enlightenment Centre, the No. 1 Shoe Shop and on Amazon, or directly from the author who can be emailed at [email protected]