Friday, October 27, 2017

Key Themes in The Waiting Gate by J Merrill Forrest

Key Themes in ‘The Waiting Gate’

The number one theme in ‘The Waiting Gate’ is the question where do they go?, applied not only to those who have passed away, but to people who are so deeply affected by dementia that they seem completely absent from our world. The one thing we are all desperate to know when watching someone we love slip away from us, either from illness or old age, is that there is happiness at the end of the journey.

I first asked the question when I was working as a volunteer for a local hospice. I was visiting an elderly lady in her home, sitting and chatting with her for a couple of hours each week. She had terminal cancer, but she wasn’t in pain and was a lively companion for the first few months, delighting in singing songs and telling me all about her life. But something changed. I will never know, but either the cancer had reached her brain, or she had some form of dementia, and in mid-conversation she would suddenly ask who I was and if she owed me money. Within a very short time she had stopped speaking and was totally bedridden. I sat in her room just reading to her and I wondered, where had she gone? Why was a cancer-riddled body still living while her spirit was no longer there?

I read extensively and interviewed many people who had direct experience of caring for someone with dementia, including a lovely lady who had watched with dismay the deterioration of her husband of more than 60 years. The time came when he no longer recognised her or his family and they had to put him into a care home. When I told her of my belief about what was happening to her husband’s spirit she took my hand and said it brought her great comfort.

For dementia care and medical protocols I consulted a specialist dementia care nurse. She was invaluable in imparting advice and facts, and she read the manuscript as it was being written. She told me that it had had a positive effect on the way she viewed her job and her patients, yet another affirmation that what I was writing could have a real impact.

I hope, through the age-old medium of story-telling, to explain that we don’t just disappear into nothingness. I hope my stories bring comfort to many, because departing this life is the one thing we will all experience eventually.

The Waiting Gate
J Merrill Forrest

Publisher: Hashtag Press

Publication date: October 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9957806-6-8

Book Description:

Alex Kelburn is a psychic medium who knows full well where we go when we die for he has been there. But what about those in the grip of severe dementia whose minds have disconnected? Where, indeed, do they go? He knows he must find the answer. Not only for Erin, the caring, compassionate nurse who has asked it, but also for his own wife, and for friends Kallie and Trish, and the thousands of others who are grieving and bewildered because they have loved ones who have gradually disappeared until only their physical selves remain.

Working on the case of an unidentified little girl whose remains have been discovered in a shallow grave, he is gradually led to a new and wonderful understanding of just what is on the Other Side …

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“Where do you think they go, the patients who no longer seem to be aware of themselves or their surroundings? I mean, take Simon. One moment he’s angry and shouting, the next it’s as if he’s simply left his body behind and gone somewhere. Some of the patients are like that all the time, never having lucid moments at all, and I’ve always wondered … where do they go?”

About the Author:

J Merrill Forrest’s deep interest in the supernatural is a major theme in her writing. For more than thirty years Jane has researched her subject, visiting psychics, mediums, Spiritualist churches and séances, always keeping an open and questioning mind, hunting down evidence.

At age 40, J Merrill Forrest followed her dream of going to university and gained a BA (Hons) in English Literature, and returned to academia ten years later to gain her MA in Creative Writing. It was during this time she began to work on her novel ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’, published in 2015, which deals with the emotive and polarising subject of life after death and introduced psychic medium Alex Kelburn. He returns in her latest novel, ‘The Waiting Gate’, the main theme of which is dementia and what happens to those who ‘disappear’ as the disease takes hold.

J Merrill Forrest is also the author of 'Orders from Above' published in 2013.

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