I was recently given the task of choosing and recounting any story that had moved me in some way and whilst I am not sure whether this is exactly what my task-setter had in mind, it is a story which most certainly did move me.
I regularly do a “school run” (and do call me to discuss rates) which is about 45 minutes each way. It coincides quite nicely with the afternoon play on Radio 4, which i’ve taken to listening to upon the wireless set that is rather cleverly installed within the automobile (what will they think of next)?
Well one day last week, the play they produced was called “My Year Off” and was based on the book of the same name by the writer, novelist and war correspondent Robert McCrum, now the associate editor of the Observer.
In 1995, McCrum had only been married for two months to Sarah when, at the age of only forty-two, he suffered a massive stroke. The book and subsequent radio play, chronicles the following year as he struggles to accept the hand dealt to him. The narrative includes many diary entries made by his new wife, also a writer.
Together they have to learn how to accept what is happening. She has to learn how to carry on loving this new stranger, who is now an all-encompassing part of her life. They have to learn how to communicate again and how to set about finding the will and the inner strength to overcome the many hurdles suddenly thrown up into their marriage.
Ultimately it’s their combined strength that beats it and he learns to talk and to walk again.
I found the play incredibly moving – to the extent that actually, I never ever want to read the book. It was just too hard going and I was in uncontrollable floods of tears by the end and was grateful that I always allow plenty of time before arriving at the school. Time to recover, aided as I so often am, by mouthfuls of healing juices courtesy of the good doctor (Dr. Pepper).
Had I not activated the wireless receiver located within the confines of the automobile, I doubt that I would have come across his story, it is certainly not a book that I would pick up and chose to buy. But I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to hear his story, even if it was at times an emotional roller-coaster of a ride (and that’s without my driving)!