~~Why did I purchase this book?~~
I had been watching This Morning a few months back when a man named St John Greene (Singe) and his two little boys (Reef and Finn) were being interviewed about their belated mum and wife Kate and how she had tragically lost her battle with cancer and the young age of 38. Kate had left her husband a list referred to as "Mum's list" it was a shopping style list in which she declared her wishes for when she passed. On the list where memories such as things she liked "club biscuits, butterflies and slow worms", things for Singe to carry out such as finding another partner so her boys grew up with a female influence and her wishes for the boys. Singe had also furthered this by creating his dad's list, a list of adventures he wanted to carry out with the boys in Kate's memory. The interview was incredibly touching seeing the young boys talk about their mum and how they now do these little adventures in memory of her, they were so brave especially Reef who had been through something similar when he was younger, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer so rare that only 8 people have ever been diagnosed with it. He was given a 6% chance of survival and defied all odds when he was given the all clear after an intensive course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It was heart-breaking to hear their story off such "bad luck" especially when they told that Kate had gone into labour with Finn at 7 months when she was already grieving for the potential loss of her other son. Singe had gone on to record his memories off Kate, their relationship, their family and completing things on the list and with the help of a writer it had been turned into the well-known book "Mum's list".
~~Book description (extract from Amazon.co.uk)
'Kiss boys two times after I have gone.' 'Please teach the boys to say what they mean.' 'Mummy loved orange Club biscuits, jam and jelly and lemon curd.' On her deathbed, Kate Greene's only concern was for her two little boys, Reef and Finn, and her loving husband, Singe. She knew she'd be leaving them behind very soon. Over her last few days, Kate created Mum's List. The couple talked and cried together as she wrote her thoughts and wishes down, trying to help the man she loved create the best life for their boys after she was gone. It wasn't the first time Singe and Kate had faced the spectre of death. Four years earlier, doctors discovered a large lump in baby Reef 's abdomen. Kate, pregnant with Finn, was so distressed that she gave birth dangerously early. Both boys pulled through, but afterwards Kate received the diagnosis that every woman dreads ...
The book looks at the memories through Singe's eyes, he had someone write the book on his behalf but he states in the epilogue that it would have been the same if he could have wrote it himself. The story flits between past and present tense in which things would trigger Singe to have memories of his beloved wife Kate. The story flows well in this format and shows you a true insight into their happiness as a family and their grief of their loss. The story is easy to read and is therefore available to a wide audience. The story features chapters which are titled by an individual item off Mum's list. Although this story is one of grief and loss it is a great tribute to a lovely wife and mother and one which would give help to others who are suffering a loss as it has a real good feel factor at the end, when it shows how a young family pull together and surface after the initial grief and how their loss has led to them creating many memories and valuing each other. Kate's mum also has a part in the book as snippets of her diary are inserted to add a different perspective, these extracts are especially emotional as it shows how her mother thought she was close to recovery and how she lost her fight so soon and unexpected. I would recommend this book as it is truly inspirational and highlights how a family has adapted their lives to cope with their loss. At the end of the book there are family pictures which help bring an end to the story, it will leave you feeling happy even though the initial story is one of great loss and sadness, however if you get nothing from this book but a feeling of living for the moment, then Singe has managed to keep Kate alive in memory.
Review also on Ciao under the same username.