When his mother Joan was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rory and his wife Katrina invited her to live with them. During this time, they all kept diaries of their time, and in Gift of Time, Rory pulls these entries together, giving a candid insight into a difficult and heartbreaking time.
The majority of entries are from Rory, as he tries to put down in words how his mother’s condition affects every aspect of his life. Katrina’s entries show the wonderful relationship she has with her mother-in-law, and Joan’s give an insight into what remains important to her.
Yes, at times this is a difficult book to read, especially towards the end, but it’s in no way a sugary, heart-string tugging account. Instead it’s very raw and open, with an account of Joan’s changes as the cancer takes hold. It also feels positive, in the way that everyone comes together to deal with the illness and eventual death, as well as the way they are view the world, still enjoying nature and the garden.
For readers who have experienced this for themselves, it should be a very personal decision as to when is the right time to read this. I would imagine it would be very hard if it’s a recent event, but other reviewers have said they’ve found it helpful a few years after – knowing that others had experienced the same as them.
This book is a wonderful tribute to this family, but also to every family who have experienced similar.
Published by Constable and Robinson
Hardback / ebook Aug 2011
Paperback March 2013