LIVING, DYING AND WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND
Dakshana Bascaramurty’s new book documents a terminally-ill father’s lessons for his young son.
I SUSPECTED THAT This Is Not the End of Me: Lessons on Living from a Dying Man might not be a breezy read. Sure enough, it prompted an ugly cry for the ages. But what surprised me about this book is that it’s also full of light.
The author, Toronto-based journalist Dakshana Bascaramurty, fell into Layton Reid’s life almost by accident. She hired the photographer to shoot her Halifax wedding; a year later, Reid, then 33, invited Bascaramurty to document his life, which had just been shaken by a terminal cancer diagnosis, shortly after learning he was going to be a father.
Bascaramurty, Reid and his family spent the next few years ricocheting between the highs and lows of new parenthood, an unpredictable illness and his imminent death. She covers the darkest parts of the journey with incredible empathy. The result is an unflinching look at what it’s like to live with a terminal diagnosis and the crushing toll caregiving can take on families. But ultimately, it’s a love story.