Updated: Dec 26, 2018
"I knew I would write a book about my son.
Just not this book..."
So begins Soar, Adam, Soar.
A good beginning too for this author`s first blog, the story behind the story on writing this book that Dundurn Press will publish Feb. 2, 2019.
I don't remember exactly when I decided or knew for sure that I was writing a book. I suspect that my late son, Adam, my co-author, knows better than I do.
What I do remember is being in my Kanata, Ottawa condo, in my office which had been my kid`s bedroom in high school years, spending most days on my late son's Facebook page, trying to stay connected to him and really to survive, because I was barely treading water in the early days of those 90 to 100-foot tidal waves of grief ripping me in the aftermath of the shipwreck soon after Adam's drowning and death.
As the first page of the book explains, I had thought that a book on a Catholic priest marrying, becoming instant step-dad to three kids, and then to this new, irrepressible child of my own with the peculiar Rebecca Adam name, this hockey goalie --- fun, courageous, indomitable character --- was a good tale to tell. That initial book idea was anchored on letters I wrote yearly on her birthday to capture the madcap adventures and life lines of the previous 12 months.
Then Adam showed up, a F-bomb FB post (Chapter 3) that announces who he is and who he's been since his birth in Sudbury in 1993. . A remarkable transgender journey moves into high gear. The seizures got worse. A fatal seizure when I am in California on holidays, a drowning, an unimaginable weekend vigil with many, surprising tender mercies, a heart recipient bursting into our lives. Insane news, all of it. Yes, a different book, with a different title, a title with a boy's name.
It was not long after the death that I sensed Adam moved back into the condo, to oversee this writing project. Typical, he chose the driver seat for telling his story. Even though I had been his Facebook friend, now in a new way I began to see the beauty of his Facebook account of his life, those strong emotions and courageous decisions to dare to be who he is and love who he loves. Sounds fair, no? You want that, no? What I always wanted for myself. What he and his friends were keen to live. I remember his first, clear co-author intervention as I struggled to paraphrase his posts. No, Dad, keep my words, he told me. I want to tell my story too. So his posts, some 130, are here, either as drive-by hilarious hellos, innocuous updates or philosopher king musings, but also as integral parts of the story itself; far better than I, his posts pick up his transgender 2015 story (Boy in the Mirror, Chapter 7) or his critical return to his Elgin St. apartment late that year following the second brain surgery at The Neuro in Montreal. (Chapter 4, My Home and Facebook Dad) . This is how his sidebar posts will look.
His beautiful California cousin, Kevin O'Connor, relayed another Adam request during a walk in High Park in Toronto as he listened to the book`s evolution. Adam is your co-author. His name should be on the cover. Of course, Adam!
For the choice of the cover, when Dundurn suggested I visit stores to identify books that might inspire Soar, Adam, Soar`s design, I resisted. The cover was obvious to me --- Adam's last-minutes-of-his life selfie in the penthouse, high rise hot tub, taken just before THE seizure, the shaft of sunlight through a sun roof strafing his head, his angels caring for him. But the phone picture was such poor quality. I worried for months until Adam told me not to worry. On Valentines Day night, Dundurn's Laura Boyle emailed me the draft cover, yes Adam's selfie, her pixel miracle done. Happy Valentine`s Day, Dad!
75,000 words, 19 chapters. written. It might have ended many chapters sooner, had I had my way, probably at Chapter 14 with my telling of Adam's moving Celebration of Life in the atrium of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. But Jude, my Vermont sister artist, intervened.
``....I’m thinking that I can do this gig in private. I certainly don’t see the need to include a chapter here on my grief after Adam died. I want to shine a light on Adam, his story, his courage. This grief is mine, not his. I believe he is fine right now, in a good place. I am left behind. I have to manage. Jude begs to differ. She reminds me that Adam didn’t live or die in isolation: `You cannot remove yourself from this story. Remember, many struggle with these same painful, heart-wrenching circumstances. Your story is their story.” Damn you, Jude. And I might as well throw a damn my son’s way, too. I sense my co-author Adam isn’t done writing.` (Give Sorrow Words, Chapter 15)
Five more chapters, as I recognize this is not only Adam's story but my story as a parent --- the grieving. living, the incredible heart recipient news, new Adam appearances and more.
You may order Soar, Adam, Soar here, starting in November, for shipping the week before the official Feb. 2 launch date. In other blogs now posted, I answer the sweet question from a friend, "Is your book sad?" (Hint: Anyone who knew Adam knows my answer) and shine a light on Adam's courage as he transitions. #transgender #epilepsy #beadonor