One morning, back in September 2015, I was packing my rucksack for the journey to visit my father, knowing it may well be for the last time.  Just before I stepped out of the door, my phone pinged. It was an email from Jessica Kinglsey Publishers sending the final proof of my manuscript- ‘Help! I’ve Got an Alarm Bell Going off in My Head!’


‘Help! I’ve Got an Alarm Bell Going Off in My Head!’, is a self-help book for anxious children, which came out the day before my birthday in late November that year. This was a joyful coincidence as I had no control over the timing. It was all in the hands of my very competent publisher who negotiated the process (managing to accomplish the whole thing in seven months!).


In early November 2015 we buried my father and my uncle, within four days of each other. I wasn’t really in the right space for book launches and birthdays.  That time was such a cocktail of bitter/sweet. I was both incredibly joyful about the birth of my first book, and grief-stricken, attempting to process the trauma of the last few weeks.


That day back in September, before I set off on my journey from Sussex to Lincolnshire, which took over eight hours, I printed out the document for my father to read. When I got to the nursing home my father wasn’t impressed and said, ‘Where’ve you been?’  The days must have felt very long for him.


He was always very sharp and had lost none of his intellectual ability despite being nearly eighty-seven, and terminally ill.  I didn’t expect praise as this was never his way.  But he snatched up the words and digested them all one by one.  As he lay there in his bed in the nursing home, he told me he could see that my book was really going to help a lot of people. Every time a nurse came into the room, or a young girl with his cup of tea (often not made to his liking), he introduced me as his ‘authoress daughter’.

I can’t describe how profoundly healing those moments were –

moments of connection,

moments of, even if fleetingly,

being seen,

my life’s work, being understood.


It’s so wonderfully precious when a book is born and you hold it in your hands for the first time. You don’t really know what it will look like until it arrives!  It’s such an honour to be an author.

Yet the unexpected gift of acknowledgement from my father was of deeper personal value and equally significant.  I love it so much that my family could join me in my joy. My brother even plugged it in his obituary at the funeral saying they could purchase my publication on Amazon for £7.99!

Leave a reply