When a Family Grieves Together

I cannot believe any author who claims his novel is not autobiographical in some way. Whatever the genre is, even speculative fiction, there is always a piece of the writer in a character, perhaps, or in a scene.

When I wrote about the relationship between the two brothers in my novel, More Precious Than Rubies, I had no intention of describing the same relationship I had with my own brother when we were younger; however, remembrances of my past got into the novel anyway.

My brother and I, five years apart, went through the kind of conflicts that all brothers experience when they grow up. Being the younger sibling, I idolized my brother and overstepped the boundaries by constantly hounding him, trying to get him to admire me. Not surprisingly, he found me immature and got angry when I invaded his space. I couldn’t understand why until I got older.

The brothers in my book, Paul (the protagonist) and Adrian (the younger brother) have this same relationship and it is only when Adrian seems to be dying that the reader sees how much Paul loves his brother. The love was always there, of course. Big brothers just don’t know how to, or don’t want to, show it.

Paul, the reader will eventually learn, needs his father and his brother to help him be strong as they all grieve for the boys’ mother, killed years ago in a car accident.

At the beginning of More Precious Than Rubies, Paul is selfish, believing that he is the only victim after his mother dies. By the novel’s end, he understands that his entire family has been affected.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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13 Responses to When a Family Grieves Together

  1. Pingback: December’s Widowed Blog Hop! | Samantha Light-Gallagher

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  3. ccarpinello says:

    I am interested to know if you shared this with your students and their response. This is a tough subject to grasp even for grownups. Thanks for being part of the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Cheryl C. co-host

    • randycoates says:

      I have not shared it yet. I am a substitute teacher, taking over for an ill woman and I have to follow lesson plans based on the woman’s teaching. I do not feel right introducing a book of mine because that would seem selfish; however, if one of those “teachable moments” arises, I could work in the book somehow.

  4. This entry makes me curious about your book. I am gonna check it out. (Especially since I have four brothers, and we lost our father at an early age, and I have two young sons who have lost their mom.) Thanks, Randy.

    • randycoates says:

      Thanks for your interest. The book focuses on a theme of fantasy but there are very real people in it and the death of the mother is significant to the theme but only touched upon.

  5. Ferree says:

    “Whatever the genre is, even speculative fiction, there is always a piece of the writer in a character, perhaps, or in a scene.” I’m sorry for your loss, but I want to thank you for connecting by writing about it.

  6. Randy,
    Sibling relationships are important to us. Sometimes we may not say so. I know a brothers relationships are a little different than sisters. But we are all siblings, so share some of the same characteristics.

    • randycoates says:

      Yes, although I was closer to my brother than to my sister when I was very young, we are all very close in middle age. I find relationships very strange because I bonded with my brother even though he is 8 years older than I and sometimes teased me. Meanwhile, my sister is 5 years older and was always very kind.

  7. snacksformax says:

    Hi Randy,
    I agree that brothers are brothers no matter their ages. Thanks for linking this into the Kid Lit Blog Hop and giving us something important to think about!

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