I had started around fifteen writing projects before 2007. Most of them stalled after a couple of chapters, my motivation dissipated as I discovered a new book to read or work was too busy or any other excuse that I could find. The stories were in me but there was nothing pushing me to finish them, no drive to complete what I could always return to at some point in the future.
In 2007, after 23 years, I left my job in the railway. The corporate grindstone had milled away everything but bitterness and resentment. I had to leave for the sake of my health and my family. Just two months after I had left, my new life was shattered beyond comprehension. My son Calum died from bacterial meningitis. At ten o’clock one Tuesday night he was a healthy, happy twelve year-old on the cusp of beginning his journey to become a man. By ten o’clock the following morning he was virtually gone, although it would be two days before his death was official.
Our family was ripped apart, my daughter robbed of her precious brother, my wife and I having to face the worst grief there is. For a year that grief engulfed us and life went on hold but no matter how difficult it was, we had to start living again. Not only for our own sake but in memory of a young lad who had lived life to the full. He crammed more into his twelve years and ten months than many people do in eighty years.
My wife poured her energy into helping others by setting up her own business to give people the tools to help contend with life's difficulties. Her positive nature has depths that amaze me every day and she is an inspiration to everyone who meets her.
Calum’s loss gave me a reason to complete those stories I had started. The realisation that life is far too short and precious to delay your dreams focused my attention and ensured that I had to complete at least one book in memory of Calum. I have gone beyond that and finished a second and I am now embarking on a third. Writing has helped me to deal with the toughest thing I will ever face, it has given me a reason to keep living, to keep Calum’s name alive by dedicating every word to him. He is my inspiration. My regret is that I left it until after he was gone before doing something that would have made him truly proud.
If you are asking yourself why you should write, I would say that don't wait until you it's too late and you have regrets, let people read the stories you have to tell. Life's too short to wait until tomorrow.
To learn more about how my wife has focused her energy, you can visit her web site.
If you would like to know more about this devastating disease, the Meningitis Trust web site has loads of valuable information including how to recognise the symptoms. You can also make a donation to the trust in Calum's name.