Future Confronted is one family's journey into a nightmare and how they cope with the aftershock of losing a loved one in a process that took just 49 days from start to finish. This book made me smile, it made me cry and it made me feel alive with human spirit; made all the more poignant by the dignity with which the family dealt with one of the most horrendous situations one could ever have to cope with.
Rob was only 20 years old when he was told he had a brain tumour. It seems that one minute he was a normal young man, a fantastic musician and former Air Cadet, with a girlfriend, a new motorbike and a future ahead of him. Sadly, his family would never see him reach his potential, see him in his future self, with all his sense of fun, love of life, courage and his kind and thoughtful consideration of others. Even when faced with the awful truth of the severity of his illness and that there was nothing anyone could do for him, to save him, he bravely refuses to accept it and wills himself, body and mind to fight it, just like he had fought all his life to live.
When I was first given the task of reading this book, I knew it would be a traumatic read. I knew it was going to take me to a place where I would be privy to the break down of a young man's life and the devastation it would have on his parents and other members of his family; and in this knowledge, I was honoured to have been trusted with this most important task. It's not easy to critique a book that holds such personal value to somoeone. It was a family laid bare and I admit, I was daunted by it. It was something akin to reviewing someone's soul. However, I could never have imagined that this book would have such a profound effect on me. It was both sad and heart-warming at the same time. When I finished it, I spoke to Rob and told him that I hoped he had found peace and that he should be proud of his Mum for telling his story. I lit a candle and I felt a glow, as if he was letting me know he had heard. I don't know why I did this but I felt compelled to; like I had to say goodbye and thank you for allowing me into his life.
I know that a lot of people will balk at reading something that is going to be very sad, and I won't lie, more than once I found myself reaching for the tissues; but once started, I couldn't put it down. The whole time I kept thinking there has to be something good here, that they would find a cure and I would find out that it all turns out ok. And that's the beauty of this book, that although you know how it ends, you still feel that you don't. There is hope in there and Rob's strength of character in those last days keep you reading and hoping but even when the end does come, you feel a sense of 'if only', but just for a minute and then you get it. It was meant to be that way and in his last moments, it's as if time stands still and you realise that everything happens in this world happens as its meant to be at that time and in that place and you get a sense of comfort that if Lousie, Rob and Dave can do this, then so can I, if and when I need to.
If you have any doubts about reading this book, let me give you this this tiny, beautifully worded excerpt.
"The gentle, sibilant sound of the ash sighed as the container began to empty. I held my breath… In the silence, the bone-white ash sounded like soft waves straining through shingle as they sifted down through the long grass under our strong Ash tree. Remnants of fine white dust hung, weightless in the still air, then very slowly started drifting toward me… I was mesmerised. My heartbeat thudded in my ears, as gradually the fine dust completely enveloped me. I closed my eyes, bowed my head, and wrapped my arms around myself; my last, loving hug from Rob."
I am so glad I read this book. At some point in our lives, we will all look into the face of death and it's comforting to know that a future can be confronted. Can you afford not to read it?
Louise's book Future Confronted was released yesterday, published by Gingernut Books
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