It was with more than a heavy heart that I pressed my lips to my mothers face and said goodbye for the last time. She left me behind I had felt, without saying goodbye and it crushed my soul.
My father had passed two years before and the circumstances of their parting couldn’t have been more different.
I was still a young man and their loss was much bigger than I realised at the time. I had no understanding of how they would be missing from important moments in my life. The intense grief at the time felt insurmountable and I believed like many do at times of sorrow , that those early moments were to be the worst.
More than twenty years have passed and time is indeed a healer. Unfortunately there are some things that hang about you that can strip away your layers and leave you raw and vulnerable at the strangest of times.
I recently dipped into the small cavern in my soul, the one that never sees light, to find the love I have missed for so long. There I found the tears I never cry, and poured them into my latest book Little Big Boy.
To draw that emotion, I hooked into what my dear mother meant to me and then I allowed those very private feelings to create a sense of love and vulnerability for the small boy Central to the story.
When I was asked to contribute to an anthology of short stories to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, I didn’t hesitate. But it was not my mother’s death that I looked to for inspiration, but my father’s loss to cancer.
I chose to write a short story that looked at grief from a different perspective. My story centres on how hard it can be to let go.
I used one very important memory which was the last thing my dad said to me. He fought a long battle with lung cancer and much like my brother who also passed far too soon from lung disease, the simple act of breathing was a significant battle for both proud men.
I was with Dad when he finally left us. Mam died quite suddenly and I felt abandoned, robbed, inconsolable. I thought I was prepared for Dad’s final day but I wasn’t.
We kept a fan by his bed. As he struggled to breathe, the fan gave him a sense of air on his face. It was almost like a comforter. Dad’s last words were “Get the fan.”
I always imagined people said something significant or special as the moved from us. “Get the fan” was perhaps a practical finale from a man who was if nothing else, pragmatic.
Loss, grief all that comes with it and after it, are things we all feel and handle differently. I know I carry it in that cavern in my soul.
On the 11th July You’re not alone will be released and you can pre-order it on amazon now.
If you’ve been touched by cancer in your life or family, you will know the incredible work nurses do in caring for those most precious to us.
I am proud to be just one of many talented people who have given freely of their time and energy to put this collection together. This will be a great book of and in itself, but more importantly, the money raised will go to a truely worthy cause. Visit your local amazon site or click the link below.