Shami Reinman is a vibrant young teacher, barely fifty years old, full of energy and vitality, deeply involved with her students in the classroom and in her home. The queen of her family, she dances and plays with her grandchildren. She travels. She spends time with friends.
Then she is struck by a dreadful disease, and her entire world turns over. She can no longer teach. Her movement and speech grow progressively worse over the agonizing years. What does the future hold for her but more inevitable decline? Determined not to sink into despondency and despair, she resolves to mold a new life for herself.
Upwards is the story of her spiritual triumph over her affliction. She finds comfort in her family and the joyous celebrations of family milestones. She spends more time with her Siddur and her Tehillim. She plays word games. She organizes photographs and makes heirloom collages, some of which appear on these pages. As she becomes more limited, the circle of her friends widens, and their visits are occasions of joy and laughter. But most of all, she spends innumerable hours working on this book, often having to dictate her thoughts and memories to others.
This is the story of a woman who, with pure emunah and bitachon, accepts her fate even as she struggles against it. She rebuilds her life by seeking out the islands of joy in the sea of her suffering and living on those islands to the fullest. And she feels blessed.