We launched the book on Sunday 19th November at the MAC in Belfast. It was a lovely event. There was around 150 people in the room, around 150 people who were just radiating support and positive vibes. They all sat and stood and smiled and it made an emotional day more so in some ways but in another way, I wasn't launching this book to the world at large; I was launching this book to family and friends, and friends of friends; friends of my parents, people who have watched me grow my whole life and couldn't have been sorrier for what happened to Oliver. They all just wanted to be there to show support and love and their good wishes.
In some ways launching the book became a little inconsequential. I think I had convinced myself that it would make a difference to losing Oliver. Truth be told, it doesn't. It doesn't bring him back, it was never going to, but whilst I followed on this, and many other paths concurrently, to keep myself busy and moving forward, I didn't have to focus too much on that. Now it's done and I have post event blues. The book looks fantastic. The quality is amazing, the story is engaging and the illustrations are just so beautifully drawn but Oliver is not here to enjoy it.
I have now sold over 450 copies. That is amazing and I am truly delighted and uplifted that there are 450 kids out there enjoying the book, or will be come Christmas. I think it will sink in soon, that I have achieved something I should be so proud of. It's just Christmas is coming and Christmas without Oliver just isn't Christmas. For his brother & sister though, it will be. They seem very taken with 'Auver's book' and Daddy's pants and the photo of the three of them on the wall.
Oliver's nursery and his pre-school read the book to the kids and I love that these fabulous, caring men and women who looked after my gorgeous boy will never forget him and that through them and their memories, Oliver will truly live on. Oliver and his curls and his Raff the giraffe.
I hope you all enjoy the book. I would love to hear what you think. If you would like to share photos of you reading to your little ones or your thoughts here or on the @RaffisLost FB page that would be really lovely.
If this book could encourage even one family to read more books in the evening time to their children I would consider that a bigger success. It was always my favourite time of the day with Oliver. Snuggled together on a big chair or on his bed with him pointing things out and asking questions. What's a piston Mummy? How does it work? (Aged 3) I miss that inquisitive little mind. I miss how he could name every train in Thomas the Tank Engine how he was so interested in how trains worked and so many other things.
I remember driving up in the North Coast of N. Ireland alongside a railway line. Thankfully I text the conversation to a friend so I still have it.
O: Mummy is that the wail-way line?
Me: It's the railway line, yes Oliver.
O: No the wail-way line.
Me: It's pronounced with a rrrrrrr, a railway line.