Shawn Eastland may not be with us anymore but his mother, Karen, sure hopes to continue his legacy by publishing a children's book he wrote and sketched shortly before he passed.
26-year-old Shawn Eastland died in a car crash on February 5th, 2010. Karen, who had been living in Sicamous, British Columbia, at the time, said her son had finished writing a book for children that tried to address the important questions children ask about themselves-- who, what, when, where and why am I? Indeed, i am I tackles life’s big questions in a way children can understand but is also relevant for anyone.
“Everyone who has read it has said this isn’t a kid’s book, it’s for everyone. This is the universal question,” said Karen Eastland, Shawn’s mother. The finished book was brought to life by a team of artists and the Eastland family.
Eastland added that Shawn absolutely loved children, and this led him to want to simplify the important and universal questions asked in i am I into a form they could understand. She added that her son was a deep thinker as a child and was probably pondering many of these questions at a young age himself.
“He was always very intuitive and very self-aware. He had great compassion for other people.” She also added: "[Shawn] loved kids and he wanted them to know to be confident in themselves, to enjoy being a kid, to explore their curiosity, and know that they are perfect exactly the way they are," Eastland said.
In the years since his death, Karen says various people involved with his book have been processing their grief.
"Grief is a very curious process," Eastland said. "And everybody that was involved with the book was experiencing, you know, their own heartache and their own process and healing, and that manifests differently for everybody."
When the original artist attached to the project was unfortunately unable to complete it, Eastland sought out another, Erin Parchoma, and showed her Shawn's storyboards. Eastland was thrilled when Parchoma did exactly what this mother wanted with her son's work.
"She managed to synthesize his work and breathe life into it," Eastland said. Another friend of Shawn's did the layout of the book.
"It wasn't anybody's full-time gig. You know, it was just everybody doing what they could and adding to the ultimate product at the end."
Eastland says the final process of publishing the book has been an incredibly emotional roller coaster. She could hardly drive the day she went to the printer to choose the stock and the cover and to add finishing touches. Now, with the copies of her son's book with her, Eastland says she hopes one of Shawn's dreams will finally be realized.
"To be able to bring Shawn's work to fruition was an extreme honour," she said.
Should you be interested in more information or want to reserve a copy of Shawn's book, you can reach Karen Eastland by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.