I had the great pleasure last week to interview Neville Sexton about his newly published book ‘Craig, The Boy Who Lives’ (Gill & MacMillan) at the Liffey Sound FM Radio Station in Lucan. The book is about the birth and untimely death at 6 years of age of Neville’s son Craig after a long and debilitating illness. It would have been tragic for his parents he had been born with a serious condition at birth, but in fact Craig seemed a perfectly normal child for his first few years and this makes their story all the more poignant and heart-breaking. The book has many riveting passages but the account of the day that Neville and Barbara got the diagnoses which finally put paid to their hopes is one of those pieces of writing that is quite simply unforgettable.
Neville takes us into the very heart of a family caught up in a calamity that, from the outside, would seem unbearable. Once inside, he takes us along the road with him, Barbara and Craig on their journey towards the inevitable and allows us to share their experiences and something of the family’s pain. And their optimism: because this is by no means a ‘doom and gloom’ narrative—Their second son, Dean, has made his appearance before the end of the book and the sub-title (‘The Boy Who Lives’) refers not only to the way Craig lives in memory, but also to Neville and Barbara’s conviction that Craig still exists somehow in the background of their family.
It’s a humbling experience to talk with people like Neville and Barbara who have been through so much sadness together and it puts a lot of things into true perspective.
A podcast of the radio programme is available on the Radio Archives website at http://www.sundayscrapbook.blogspot.com It will take a few minutes to download (depending on your equipment) and then fast forward a little to get to the start of the programme.