WASHINGTON – There was no way Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean could have forecast the dark times ahead for her family in 2020. Dean lost both of her in-laws to COVID-19 and there were other ups and downs too. Still, she managed to find the sunshine and is showing others how they can too.
She writes about it all in her new book, Make Your Own Sunshine: Inspiring Stories of People Who Know How to Find Light in Dark Times.
And dark times she certainly knows.
"One of the terrible tragedies during this past year is we lost my husband's parents," Janice said in an interview with CBN News. "Both died of COVID in separate elder care facilities. Never in a million years would I have thought that something like that could take their lives so quickly and it was terrible. There's no way to describe it any better than that."
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Since their passing, Dean has been using her platform to speak out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who's under federal investigation for his handling of the virus in nursing homes. The scrutiny, growing by the day and now reaching a boiling point.
"I never wanted to be a political person. I'm the meteorologist on Fox," said Dean. "But I started learning more about Governor Cuomo's executive order to put COVID-positive patients into nursing homes – for 46 days – and we are finding out more information that it was more than 9,000 infected patients that went into nursing homes and I wasn't seeing the coverage on television."
Dean says she wants answers for her family and all of the others who lost loved ones.
In the book, she writes about finding light in life's toughest moments. She features everyday heroes, from the teacher who cut her student's hair, to the Uber driver who helped a new mom buy baby clothes.
"Every chapter is basically about a story about somebody who did something kind for someone else and many of them pass it along," explained Dean.
That's what her husband did for her when Covid nearly squashed her 50th birthday celebration.
"I was going to celebrate my 50th birthday in Las Vegas," said Dean. "I had planned, you know, dinners and outings and dancing with my closest girlfriends and it came to a screeching halt obviously we couldn't do that so my husband planned this wonderful birthday for me and I never expected it."
Dean details how he decorated their home like a casino, arranged a car parade, and even set up Zoom dates with her co-workers and friends.
"I wrote about it because it was something we were all going through and it was a moment where my husband went outside of the box and did something so special and to me, it was probably the best celebration of my 50th year on this planet and it happened to be going on during a pandemic."
Dean, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 16 years ago, writes about her experience with the illness and how she's learned to cope with it.
"I think something like that, being diagnosed with a chronic illness, or going through challenges, health challenges, it does make you appreciate every single day," Dean said, adding that she's doing well. "I know that every day that I wake up and I put my feet on the floor and I get up, I'm grateful for that."
She said writing this book was actually healing for her in many ways.
"Just the fact that we were going through such a dark moment and it made me appreciate the kindness that was happening during that terrible time – from the school principal calling us and checking to see how we were doing, to the local firefighter who brought us a meal and left it on the doorstep, to strangers who sent to me cards and prayers."
She hopes it will be healing for readers too, who maybe need a little encouragement or extra shot of sunshine in their day.