Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
My summer was dominated by last weeks of life of my dear father-in-law Alastair McCrae. We spent three weeks driving around Scotland with him in July. This photo was taken at the Piping Centre in Borreraig on the Isle of Skye. On subsequent days we had a picnic in Elgol and stopped at the Talisker distillery for a wee dram. In Scotland, Alastair saw his older sister and celebrated his eightieth birthday with his twin brother Ewan at a great party in Perth.
We returned to England at the end of July and Alastair made the decision that he wanted to die at home. The doctors and nurses were excellent at providing what was needed, and everybody who wanted to see him got that opportunity in August. Alastair died peacefully on September 1 with his wife and daughter at his side.
The memorial service was held September 10 and Alastair had prepared some words and selected music. He wrote,
“I’ve had a wonderful life and it’s due to the many people who have contributed to it. The pieces of music today recall their generosity, love, and kindness to me. I’ve asked that they be played to mark my gratitude”.
For his eightieth birthday, I presented a gift of two bound pages. Alastair opened the wrapping and saw the first one that said: To Alastair. He thought that was a kind of card. He turned it over and saw the title page to my next book EYES ON THE GOAL. Then he realized that To Alastair was the dedication. "My dear fellow," he said as tears came to his eyes. "What a wonderful gift."
Wherever Alastair went, whatever he did, whomever he met, he brought joy and a sense wonder. We are all the richer for that.
Thank you, Alastair, for all your gifts.