Dancing in Heaven

Dancing in Heaven — a sister's memoirDancing in Heaven is available at:

Amazon.com (Print and Kindle)
My sister Annie never outgrew the needs of an infant. She didn’t walk or talk. Our parents fed her, changed her clothes, and lifted her from her bed to her wheelchair and back  for her entire life. Although the doctors who initially diagnosed her predicted she’d have a life expectancy of eight years, Annie lived to be fifty-one years old.

Dancing in Heaven is an inspirational story about Annie s life, death, and her significance in the lives of those of us who loved her and others who were touched by her. This memoir provides a window into my family’ s life with a severely disabled member. But more importantly, Dancing in Heaven is a testament to the basic intrinsic value of human life.


Watching in the night – chapter 1
A responsive and captive audience
An instinct to die


“Even deprived of our most basic functions, a life can still lighten and inspire. “Dancing in Heaven” is a memoir from Christine M. Grote as she recounts the life of her disabled sister Annie, as she hopes to shine light on what even a disabled soul in one’s life can do for the cohesion of family and love. “Dancing in Heaven” is a must for memoir collections focusing on disability and families of the disabled.” The Midwest Book Review, Able Greenspan reviewer

“As I turned the last page, tears were streaming down my face. Happy that sweet little Annie was finally able to dance in heaven, no longer hampered by the prison that her body had been for her sparkling and merry mind. Sad that her radiant smile was now only a memory.” Marion Driessen, Figments of a Dutchess – Read complete review here.

“Not only is this self published, non-fiction book polished and perfect…it’s a gripping read.Cynthia Robertson. -Read complete review here.

You will be touched by this inspirational story about Annie. . .” Kaity-Jane Culbertson. – Read complete review.

“Christine’s memoir is a lovely tribute to the life of this dear family member. . .” dogear6, blogger. – Read complete review here.

Dancing In Heaven: a sister’s memoir is touching and inspirational. Annie’s story is one that everyone should read. The way she affected her famiy and those around her was astounding.” Stephanie Cowart from Your Need to Read.  –Read complete review here.

“Dancing in Heaven — a sister’s memoir is a tender story of growing up with a severely handicapped member of the family.” It is a “beautiful memoir.  It is sweet, gentle, and encouraging.” Sally from Hot Dogs and Marmalade.  –Read complete post here.

“The writing is beautiful and while there were times I felt my eyes well up with tears, there were many parts that made me smile. I really did enjoy this intimate look into such a wonderful family.” Jennifer from Mommy’s Reading Too – Read complete review here.

“This is very courageous, brave writing . . .” Carolyn Walker, published memoirist, and Pushcart Prize nominee.

“Dancing in Heaven captures the inescapable pain, unpredictable joy, and resilient decision-making . . . ” Jeffrey Hillard, editor & publisher.

“Annie and her family made a significant impression on me . . .” Jim McCormick, Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services.

“Dancing in Heaven captures “the combination of constant desperate waiting, dread, confusion and exhaustion you experience when someone you love is dying. . .”  Nancy Henry Chadwick, writer. 


*Reviews by Jane: ” RBJ – What inspired you to write a memoir about your sister?  CMG – I always knew I would write about my sister Annie. I believed her story had a lot to offer other people in many different ways. . .” Reviews by Jane.

*Ink Drop Interviews:IDI – Christine, I know that ‘Dancing in Heaven’ is about the life and death of your severely disabled sister. Why did you write it?
CMG Having a profoundly disabled sister had a profound effect on me. . .” Ink Drop Interviews by Kathy Reinhart.

*William Lambers interview: “Christine talks about Dancing in Heaven and also the process of publishing this inspirational memoir.” An interview by William Lambers.

Guest Posts:

Why we write our stories at Wrote by Rote
How memoir writing helped me to grieve my loss at Memoir Writer’s Journey

Contact Me:

I would love to hear from you. If you have read Dancing in Heaven and would like to leave a comment, or if you have any questions, please feel free to post them below and I will respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your interest in Dancing in Heaven and my sister Annie’s story. ~Christine M. Grote

47 thoughts on “Dancing in Heaven”

  1. Christine, I just finished Dancing in Heaven and had to write to you right away. I had to put it on hold for a few days because of some family obligations but I really wanted to get back to the book as soon as I could. I feel as if I know Annie –your writing made her so real to me and I was pulled in from page one of her story. What a beautiful tribute to her!!! I know she is smiling. I can only imagine all of the emotions that you went through as you wrote this wonderful memoir. I found myself in tears at several places in the book and loved so many of the candid stories and experiences that you wrote about. The unwavering love of your parents is evident from the chairs that your father created to the family vacations to the dedication of your mother as she made sure that all of Annie’s needs were met. You are a wonderful sister and it blessed me so much to read the memoir. I think that you honored her memory so well and I am happy that I got to share the experience with you. Am passing the book along to my mom this weekend and I know that she will like it as much as I did. Thank YOU for being so brave, for exposing yourself and your emotions and for blessing all of us readers with a wonderful tribute to a wonderful sister. 🙂

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Beth Ann. I’m glad you liked the book and very happy you are passing it on.

      “I feel as if I know Annie,” was all I was hoping for.

  2. I am so glad that you wrote this book! What a great story of love and devotion and her smile will always be with you!!! Loved the pictures. You should be very proud of what you have done!

  3. Christine,

    I am so happy to see your unique story in print! Your very creative narrative ability should be shared with all.


    1. Hi Sheree,
      I’ve been trying to reach you. I asked Jeff if he could get me your address. I’d like to send you a copy of the book as you were there encouraging me at the very beginning. Your email address attached to the avatar (little blue square) doesn’t work. I hope you check back here. Could you send me your postal address? My email is christine.m.grote@gmail.com.

    1. I was looking back through here and saw this comment from you, Jodie, six months later. I want to apologize for not acknowledging it sooner. I don’t know how I missed it. Thanks for the nomination. I would have likely gratefully declined because I’ve already received the Versatile award twice and am running out of people to nominate. 🙂 I will be visiting your blog, though. Please forgive me.

  4. Christine,
    I randomly found your blog today and I don’t think it is coincidence. My wife and I have a daughter that sounds very similar to your sister. We have started reaching out to others with our story as well. We can’t wait to read your book. You can see our story at http://www.mademeaningful.com

  5. i am challenged! brain damage, auto accident 4+month coma. i awoke as a 3 year old, mentally, in a 17 year old body which lost 75 lbs. from a 195 lb. athletic frame 42+ years ago. to make it short and sweet, i am a published author, reflections of gratitude. i tried but cannot seem to get a screenplay written. do you write screenplays? i wrote about 12 pages, got frustrated, brain damaged “ain’t for sissys”. by the way, your book’s title is wonderful…
    thank you for the possibility of joining forces in the entertainment field.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, David. I am sorry that I am not able to help you with your screenplay. I have not knowledge or experience in this field. You are amazing. I hope you continue to strive forward and reach your goals. Best of wishes. Stop by every now and then and let me know how you’re doing.

  6. I’m curious why you only wrote about Carol (besides Annie) and not your other sister or brother, did they not wish to be included? I loved this book! I grew up in a large Catholic family but none of us had any disabilities (that you can see). Your mother is an amazing woman all she did for Annie and now dealing with your father’s Alzheimer’s! Anyway I always thank authors when I enjoy their books and yours was truly wonderful! God Bless!

    1. I’m glad you liked Dancing in Heaven. Thanks for reading it and letting me know. All my siblings were in my first manuscript. My oldest sister and brother asked me not to include them, so I revised the book without them in it. I was sad about this, but it was necessary. Apparently not everybody wants to be in a book. Live and learn.

  7. I just ordered your book and a CD of Celine Dion. Can you tell me where I can get the video of the song in the article. Thanks

      1. I have a sister who sounds very similiar to your sister. My mother and father were told she would not live past 7 years of age. She will be celebrating her 71st birthday on the 24th of June. We feel that every year past 7 has been a bonus in our lives. She is the oldest of 10 children and has been an inspiration to all of us and the many many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

  8. I happened to come across this book on Amazon and downloaded it to my Kindle and wanted to let you know that you have inspired me as an RN. I know feel like I have more understanding and empathy for patients and their families in similar situations. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what families of disabled people are going through especially during the hospice period. Thank you enlightening me and giving me insight on how I can better myself as a caregiver. Your insight on what your mother has sacrificed really stood out to me. Thank you for writing this book, I know it was difficult for you and your family. I know with all of my heart that you will see Annie dancing in heaven!

    1. I’m glad you found my book, Vanessa. It sounds like it may have given you some insights. I am happy about that. I do think it is difficult, as you say, to understand what families of disabled persons are going through. I wrote Annie’s story for that exact reason, to help others understand a little more.

      Nurses have been my best fans, so I’m not surprised to find you here.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  9. Christine – in follow-up to earlier discussions, please contact me regarding use of an excerpt from your book in an upcoming Hospice of Dayton publication. Can you please contact me at 937-256-4490, ext. 4409? Thank you.

  10. Thank you for writing Dancing in Heaven. I too had a sister with cerebral palsy and brain damage from a birth injury. She was not quite as disabled as Annie – her age level was approximately 4 years. Marcia was the oldest of the three of us and our mom and dad took care of her and raised me and my brother as well. Your story so greatly paralleled ours from the doctors telling my parents to put her in a home and forget about her to “she’ll never walk or talk” (both of which she did thanks to the dedication of our mother). I truly believe that having a special family member enriches our lives and is a blessing. Everyone who knew Marcia loved her and learned from her. It is interesting to me how little changed over the years – Marcia was born in 1938 and Annie much later but attitudes and information hadn’t changed much.

    Thank you for sharing your story – you will educate everyone who reads it about living with such a “special” sister and your family.

    I feel like I know you and could visit over a cup of coffee and compare lives!

    Joann Kinzer

    1. Hello Joann,
      Thank you so much for not only reading Annie’s story, but for commenting here. It means a lot to me to know how the book is affecting others. It makes me feel good to know that people are still learning about Annie through the book. It sort of keeps her alive.

      That’s terrific that Marcia was able to walk and especially talk. I think my parents would have given a lot to hear Annie’s voice and be able to communicate with her.

      That would be nice to share a warm beverage with you. Sadly, I had to give up coffee many years ago, but am happy to have a cup of tea. What part of the world do you live in Joann?

  11. I just felt like I was reading my story of last year. My grandma wasn’t as special as Annie. But she was special in her way. I felt like you wrote the whole entire Hospice experience. I would advise that anyone that has to have or be put in that position use them. They know what to expect and they know how to handle each situation. I believe that they are special souls that know that their patient will never get better and they are the ones to make the way out as easy as they can. My grandmother went home from the hospital like Annie and within a day or two she was no longer really coherent. But they made sure that she was comfortable and had anything she needed. My grandma I believe only lasted five days after she left the hospital; she also had cancer and the doctors wouldn’t treat it. Very similar to Annie. Like I said it was like you wrote my story with different characters. Very, Very, Very well written.
    My only comment/question is when you did the interview with your parents did you ever get around to asking your parents about the treatment of Carol and you and how it was different of that of Annie’s? Just curious. I also loved the fact that you buried Annie on her tummy; has anyone every thought how you physically wanted to be buried, your family did. That proves you care. (I hope you can understand this and I didn’t jump around and leave out words to make the complete thought.)

    1. Please forgive my delayed response. I’ve been focused on my next book about my father, his life and his journey through Alzheimer’s.

      I agree full-heartedly with you about Hospice. I’m not sure what we would have done without not only their physical/medical assistance, but also their emotional stability that proved to be a rock for us through such a difficult time.

      First, I should tell you that I actually have four siblings, including Annie. Two of them asked me not to include them in the book for their own reasons. Privacy, mainly.

      I did ask my parents a question along the lines of what you ask above. I remember the answer was somewhat vague. I will have to look back at my interview document and get back to you.

      Thank you for reading Annie’s story. Every reader is important to me. That’s why I wrote the book, to share Annie’s story.

  12. I just completed Dancing in Heaven/ I loved it. It reminds me of a friend who has a twin sister much like Annie. Your stories sound like her talking. She always has someone to talk to and tell her deep down secrets.

    1. Thank you for reading Annie’s story. It warms my heart to know that people are still being touched by her. She’s been gone nearly six years now.

  13. Thank you for replying to my email. I had to have a chuckle because I originally wrote to you regarding my experience with my Grandma and hospice. The reason I chuckled is that you said you were writing about your Dad and Alzheimer’s; my grandpa passed away from that about 10 years now. My grandma did everything she could for him till the day he died in the Illinois Veterans home. Can’t wait to read this book and compare notes. I know each experience is different and hopefully yours didn’t end like mine. Nice to know there are others out there Dealing with the same issues.


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