A SERIES of poignant emails between friends has been made in to a book – after the death of the author’s ‘spirited’ 40-year-old son Jamie.
Jan Eade, of Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis, took the decision to publish the correspondences which show how Jamie and his family coped after his diagnosis.
“It was very emotional,” said Jan, who compiled the book with her friend and former colleague Helen Billett, from Poole.
“Jamie was very much his own man. He was very bright and articulate and sure of himself.”
The title of the book, which is interspersed with poems, is called Don’t Take on so Mother – a title Jan said was taken from Jamie’s own words, frequently uttered to his mother during those difficult months before his death.
Jamie was a sound engineer and worked in Thailand. But while he was there he became unwell and started losing weight. Jamie discovered he had cancer of the oesophagus, which had spread to his liver.
“He was determined to go back to Thailand,” said Jan, who was manager of Avonmore Nursing Centre in Bognor Regis.
“He was working on opening a sound studio which other people would benefit from. It was his dream. He always had some project, something to do,
“He loved to travel. He had totally fallen in love with Thailand. His whole intention was to die out there, it was what he wanted. He was out there for almost a year, but he had to come back again. It became difficult for him to pay for drugs and receive the treatment and I have to say I pressed him to come home.
“He hated it though, he grumbled a lot. He didn’t want to be looked after by me.
“During that time, my friend and I were emailing each other and she kept all the emails. After Jamie died, we always said we would do something.
“One day we were just talking and decided to do it – she needed something to do because she lost her husband. It grew from there.”
In one email to Helen, Jan said Jamie was calling the experience – her greatest fear – his ‘last adventure’.
“It’s not denial,” she wrote. “Just a matter-of-fact approach that is typical of him.
“He knows he has limited time. He will come home for a second opinion, but he says there are things he has to do first so that he comes home with ‘his head right’. I understand that as well, but would like it sooner rather than later.”
Surrounded by a supportive family and ‘incredible’ friends, Jamie died in June 2009.
Jan said she was supported through the difficult time by her daughter Jessica, who lives in Birdham with her husband and children.
“She was amazing and there every step of the way.”
“We also received support from St Wilfrid’s Hospice at home service. The staff looked after him very well.”
Despite being a former nurse, Jan said she and the family often felt inadequate to provide comfort during the last few months of Jamie’s life.
But she said Jamie’s desire for adventure was a mark of his ‘independent spirit’.
“He was quite wild when he was young. He was always bloody-minded.”
“He went to school in Steyning, spent some time at Chichester College and grew up around Chichester.
“Jamie didn’t know what he wanted to do for a living, but he had a good ear,” she said – a talent which kickstarted his career in sound engineering.
Jamie’s adventures led him to Thailand during the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
“He had been staying on the beach just before the tsunami hit, but we thought he was still there. He rang me to say he was okay. I don’t know how to describe it, but we thought it made the fact he died of something like cancer particularly poignant.”
Don’t take on so Mother is available on www.feedaread.com for £6.99.
Profits of the book will go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice care at home services.
For more information go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice