By Damion Smalls
In a touching tribute to her late daughter Claudette Monique Dillings, Darlene Walker Smith converted a collection of Claudette’s poems into a book entitled “The Final Chapter: Self-Expressionistic Poems That Touch on Profound Issues” in 2018.
A Summerville native, Smith became a first-time author through the publication dedicated to both her daughter and late mother, Ordell Walker. Dillings was a poet and live performer in her lifetime, which Smith supported and admired. When Dillings passed away in 2008 due to the effects of cancer, her two children were too young to form lasting memories of her. With “The Final Chapter,” Smith hopes that her grandchildren will learn of what kind of person their mother was.
It took four months for Smith to collect and align the poems included in ‘The Final Chapter.’ The idea of publishing a book for her daughter “came to me in a vision,” Smith recalls. She chose a professional career working with people with special needs and disabilities before turning to writing.
‘The Final Chapter’ opens with a caution that it “contains some powerful words that may take you back to a moment of reflections, but it will set you FREE!”
In a series of poems that touches personal topics such as domestic abuse, rape, relationships, womanhood, morality, and health, Dillings uses her unique perspective of perseverance to express herself truly and profoundly.
Walker, who passed in 2016, is also represented with several selections of her writings included in “The Final Chapter.” Walker was a counselor that emphasized the importance of freedom in relationships, becoming a “whole person,” and her religion’s role in marriage. She explains that being single doesn’t equate to being lonely and that “a successful marriage is only the product of two people being successfully single.”
Dillings wrote about her experiences dealing with cancer, which she battled for years before her death. Refusing to give in to her illness, Dillings declared that “I AM more than a diagnosis” in a display of mind over matter. For those undergoing similar circumstances, ‘The Final Chapter’ offers a sincere appreciation of life while not neglecting or sugarcoating the ugly side.
Since its release in April 2018, Smith reveals that the reception from readers has been overwhelmingly positive. A heavy reliance on religion and spirituality, ‘The Final Chapter’ aims to inspire people to confront their fears, maintain hope throughout their struggles, love themselves first in order to love others, and embrace a lifetime full of personal evolution.
For readers interested in “The Final Chapter,’ Smith says that they should expect to absorb relatable compositions about the trials and tribulations that people face everyday. People have to “overcome their issues to achieve total peace,” she believes.