Putting the pain of loss into print

By EMMA CORNFORD

ecornford@dailyexaminer.com.au

THE grief of losing a child to cancer touches thousands of families every year. Each parent deals with the loss differently.

For Greg Crooks, a nurse at Grafton Base Hospital, part of the grieving process included writing a book about his and his wife's experiences as their son, Sean, underwent treatment for a brain tumor.

"After he died I started writing the story ... and it flows through our journey, just to let others know what it's like to be in that situation," Mr Crooks said.

"I've always wanted to write and at first I just started scribbling, but I think it was a relief finally getting it out of my system."

Despite the relief, it was the rejections from publishers and numerous rewrites which Mr Crooks found most stressful.

When he had to make changes, he would move to the nurses quarters to isolate himself from the emotions and distractions at home.

"There were dozens of them. I had to put the book down for four months at a time because I'd read back through it and it was like I was reliving it and I would just cry, but then I'd just have to try again."

Now, after the editing, rejections and stress, Mr Crooks' book, Can I take my panda daddy?, has been published by Boolarong Press.

"When it turned up in my hands the other day I felt relief at the process and that I'd actually done it. It's really a tribute to my son," he said.

The book will be available at bookstores in Coffs Harbour, the Woolgoolga newsagency and at the Grafton Base Hospital shop.



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