My son writes his book
TUESDAY, March 23 – Woke up early, five-thirty. Ten minutes later Eamonn comes downstairs. He’s wide awake. A man with a mission.
‘I want to write a book,’ he announced.
I put down my pen. ‘Great idea. About what?’
‘About the best and the worst day of my life.’
He goes off to get Jennifer’s laptop and then gets down to work. Three-quarters of an hour later he’s done. I start to read and the tears come. Tears of love and pride. He’s sad, but also happy that he’s written it all down. At last.
The Best and Worst week of my life
By Eamonn Nolan
The Best Week
7 July, 2000 – Boom. Right there my life began. I was alive. The first thing I did when I was born, was grabbing the doctor’s scalpel. Frantically the doctors tried to yank it back, but they couldn’t. Everybody was laughing, even my mother, a little, even if she was in so much pain. I was still holding on to the scalpel, but then I let go. And started to cry. I was alive.
8 July, 2000 – My second day alive. My mom and dad noticed I was a curious little fellow, always wanting to find something out. I crawled around the house, bothering the cats by touching their ears. I learned to type at a very young age. I had my own email when I was three. I learned to type by banging on the keyboard.
9 July, 2000 – My luckiest third day alive. As they say, 3 is a magic number. My brother Sander was starting to pick me up and hug me. Even as much as he annoys me now, he doesn’t remember back when I was in the best week of my life.
10 July, 2000 – Number 4. The cats (Poeka and Ed) started to befriend me. They were coming to me and stroking my leg with their head. Sooner or later, the cats were jumping up on the space next to me and stroking me with their heads again. Right now, our cat Bodhi always goes to Sander.
11-14 July, 2000 – What happened in these 4 days? About all the same of what happened in the last few days. Crawl, eat, sleep. Crawl, eat, sleep. My daily schedule. Crawl, eat, sleep. Crawl, eat, sleep.
The Worst Week
22 October, 2009 – Me, Sander, my Mom, my friend Roy, and Roy’s mom were on our way to the park. But then Sander saw that our dog Elsa (who we got on the 19th) had lost her toy on the way. So mom went back to look for it. And she said, ‘Wait here, I’ll find the toy.’ So we kept walking, and we heard Roy’s mom say, ‘Wait here, I need to check what happened back there.’
So we were waiting, and Roy’s mom signals for us to run there and hurry your butts up. I ran beside Sander and then I said to Sander, ‘Wait! That’s mom!’ We started to sprint as fast as lightning to her, and saw mom on the road. I kept saying, ‘Mom, are you ok?’ But she wasn’t responding so she must not be ok. Her eyes were still open and her body was moving, so I knew she was still alive.
I went sadly to the curb and sat down, feeling how hopeless I was. I heard some teenagers walk past and saying, ‘coooool’. And laughing. I wanted to shout, ‘HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU GOT HIT BY A MOTORCYCLE?????’ But I didn’t. I knew that was wrong.
23 October, 2009 – We were in the hospital. I saw dad in the hall. I ran toward him as fast as I could and hugged him. He said, ‘Let’s go into the waiting room.’
He was talking about mom had a 50-50 chance of dying, or living. And he also said that mom was talking last night. He said mom was saying, ‘What am I doing here?’ and dad told her about the accident that she had. Mom was talking about if she didn’t live until the next day and dad told her it was going to be fine.
Later that night dad said to come to the hospital to see mom again. I knew that if we were coming to the hospital, it would be good news or bad news. My hopes were for good news. When we got into the same hall, I saw dad’s face was not good. He said in a small voice, ‘Let’s go into the waiting room. I need to talk to you.’
When we were in the waiting room dad told us that mom was not going to open her eyes. We all cried. He also told us that my Grandma and Grandpa and all the uncles were coming over for the memorial service. This was the worst week of my life.
29 October, 2009 – We were at the memorial service and my uncle Pete went up to say a speech. A few more people spoke and then it was my turn to go. Sander was at my side. I read a part of the first line but I cried in the middle of it. My dad went up to say it. I hear in his voice that he felt that he was going to cry. But he didn’t. My dad is a strong man.
23 March, 2010 – This is right now. I am writing this book on 23 March 2010. And it is finished on 23 March 2010. It’s a quick book. But my life isn’t. I hope my life can be as long as it can be.
‘Are you going to publish your diary?’ Eamonn asks, when I tell him how great his book turned out. It’s not the first time he’s asked me that. ‘And if you do, will you include my book?’ he asks.
I promise him I will.
Not long ago I was rummaging around in the attic when I came across Jennifer’s diaries. A sizable collection. I picked one up and started to read, but put it down almost immediately. Too precious, too private, too inquisitive, too discreet, too Jennifer. I’ll save them for later. When I have the time, when my head isn’t so full, when I feel that I’m ready to learn how she saw herself, me, the children, and other people in her life.
(Interested in reading the full diary of a widower? Click here)