How do you learn to live in the wake of death?
Patrick Dillon and Nicola Thorold were together for twenty-eight years. Patrick was an award-winning architect and writer and Nicola a leading figure in theatre, awarded an OBE for her contribution to the arts at London’s Roundhouse. Their two children were almost grown-up. Life was good.
And then, in May 2015, Nicola was diagnosed with leukaemia. After several rounds of treatment, a bone marrow transplant and many waves of recovery and decline, she died thirteen months after her diagnosis. Six months later, at Christmas, Patrick started to write.
A Moment of Grace is the searing, tender account of Patrick’s life with Nicola and her illness, and his life after her loss. But it is more than a story of illness and unbearable grief: it is a book of memory, of home, of family. It is a tale of the transfiguring power of love. Heartbreaking, life-affirming and truly unforgettable, A Moment of Grace is one man’s journey to find life after his wife’s death.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is a true story, touching, moving and written with love and dignity in memory of Nicola, Patrick’s partner for the last 28 years. Nicola lost her life to leukaemia in 2016. Writing this book has been Patrick’s way to deal with his loss of Nicola besides honouring his courageous wife who never gave up fighting her illness.
There is a little background information of how life use to be for them but the majority of the chapters take you from the day the call from the doctor to Patrick came, asking his wife to go to the surgery, to the time of her death and just beyond. From hearing the terrible news the couple never give up hope, tried to stay positive and keep life as near to normal as possible, even when Nicola spent long periods in hospital under going treatment and times of infections where she was dreadfully ill.
Talk about wearing you heart on your sleeve, nothing is held back. There is a difference between never giving up and being realistic and they knew which was which. Patrick talks of a closeness between them that many people never experience in their lives and this was shared with their two grown up children. New dynamics took place in the family and they found strength in each other when they were spent.
There is also an honest account of how they saw the care that was given to Nicola from nursing staff. Nicola’s fears and at times incredible courage. It is a very intimate journey, one which it only felt right to read in a very quite environment, I don’t know it was like respecting the harder moments that Patrick shared and at times reflect on myself. A very moving and honest tribute to Nicola, Patrick has done them both proud.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for inviting me to read this book which I have reviewed honestly
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Dillon is a writer and architect who has overseen the design of buildings including the National Theatre and Daunts bookshops. He lives in London.