A Parent With Cancer Writes a Love Story for Her Child in This Touching Picture Book
Touching Story of a Parent's Terminal Illness to Comfort Children
A Must-Read for Parents Who Have a Terminal Diagnosis
Caroline Wright's Lasting Love is a must-read for all parents who are facing a terminal diagnosis. Carolyn was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer. She decided to write this touching story for her sons to help with managing feelings about the possibility of losing their mom. This little book will be important for families who are facing illness and children who will lose a parent to a terminal illness.
When Mom becomes ill, she comes home from the hospital with a magical little fuzzy creature. The sweet little creature is strong and wants to show the little boy that he is loved by his mom. The little creature is very helpful to Mom every day. He helps with the cooking. He draws pictures with the little boy and his mom. He also helps both to appreciate the beauty of nature when they are outside. The little creature comforts the little boy each day as his mom becomes very weak. The little creature becomes stronger as Mom grows weaker and finally passes away. Caroline Wright's purpose is to show that a mom's love never dies. It will always be there in spirit as the little creature is there.
Wright writes in simple text and the illustrations that are contributed by Willow Heath are simple and charming. The message is clear to all readers who share this story that a parent's love will always be there even after they are gone.
Lasting Love was published by Rodale Kids, a division of Random House Children's Books. It is recommended for all ages who face this sensitive subject. It has an ISBN of 978-1-9848-5014-0.
I was privileged to be able to do an interview by email through her publicist. My interview is featured in this review. Readers will find her answers to be inspiring.
Q & A Interview With Caroline Wright
My Question: "How did you decide what form the little creature would take for your book?"
Caroline Wright: "I had general guidelines of how I saw him, maybe because it's how I see my love for my sons: very large,soft, warm, and brilliantly colored. When I approached Willow about the project, I trusted her talent and wanted to see her vision of the creature,so we discussed his characteristics very generally before she started to draw him. The next time we met, she had made a few little paintings, and we both knew right away when we saw him."
Question: "Expand on your thoughts as you were planning your book Lasting Love to include any thoughts about how the little creature would help to get through the illness as the illness progressed for hte little boy's mom."
Caroline Wright: "The creature, simply, is a physical embodiment of the mother's love in the book. When I was at my most infirm during my treatment, there was this part of me that wanted to bound out of bed and play with my boys-that's the energetic twinkle part in the illustrations, the effusive love part that knows no sickness, the basis for the creature himself. I think there are innumerable ways that love helps heal, both the patient and their family. But in terms of the creature character and his relationship to the boy, I like to think the boy would find comfort bringing his companion along to any of the day's activities-because that's reality. I saw it on the face of my oldest son, who was then four when I was diagnosed-when I got sick, my presence never really left him. The factof my sickness was with him in every moment. What we were actually teaching in our home was an attempt to swap the idea of sickness for love-the health part was out of our control, but the love part was forever."
Question: "Did you think about including a few ideas about the negative side of the illness to show children the effects on the mom with cancer and show how the little creature could help deal with the negative such as hair loss with chemo?"
Caroline Wright: "As I mentioned earlier, the sickness part of a parent's illness is overwhelming. I wanted to keep the story and illustrations simple to keep the focus on the most important part to me then: to ensure my sons knew I would love them forever. I didn't see it as a manual to navigate my cancer, but rather a tool for understanding the bigger, more powerful message. Really, I didn't want my love and my cancer to be bound together in their understanding-it may have killed me and taken me away from them in the end, but it didn't define me or my love for them."
Question: "How did your own kids react to your lovely book?
Caroline Wright: "When I first wrote the manuscript and read it to them, I could tell my oldest son loved it very much, but that it also made him very sad. The boy in the book is him, he knew, and the mother who died was me. Reading an advance copy before Lasting Love was available to the public, I tried to read him this beautiful version. It was painful for us both, like diving right back to the time in which I was fighting so hard for my life. Now, with my hair grown back and with clean scans, I know my oldest son doesn't think about my cancer too much, evn though I often do. I'm happy he keeps his feelings about it in a safe place that we talk about sometimes and that his story that could have been his is a beautiful tool for other families who weren't as lucky as ours. I think Lasting Love, with time, will become the charished legacy I hoped it would be for my boys."
Question: " The illustration of the mom's ashes being scattered htat is done in black and white with the little creature standing by and ashes turning into rainbow colors is highly interesting. What were your thoughts about this illustration?
Caroline Wright: " Willow and I wanted the use of color to be another tool to illustrate the emotion behind the book. Where there is color, there is love and hope. The ashes seemed to represent to Willow and I the most literal example of hopelessness, a haze of gray and black; this spoke to us as the moment when the creature would become a fully realized character of his own, which we visualized as the transfer of color."
Readers will be thrilled to know that Caroline is still spending her days writing and cooking. She continues to fight her cancer and is focusing on her family.
Simple and Beautiful Illustrations Tell This Story
© 2019 Cindy Hewitt