Never forgotten

• Dylan and Kylie Wilkie (top), Dave Wilkie playing with baby Dylan.

DYLAN didn’t get to know her dad, but her “memories” of him have inspired a book of poems helping children to deal with loss.

Memories Are Forever was written by Kylie Wilkie, after her 34-year-old husband Dave died when their daughter Dylan was just six months old.

“The circumstances that led me to write this book are common to us all – tragedy, love, hope and life,” Wilkie says.

“Post-traumatic growth is real if we share our stories and insight.”

Her husband was a seemingly healthy young man who put his tiredness down to a heavy workload, but he was diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 14-weeks pregnant.

“He died at 35, almost 12 months to the day following his diagnosis,” she said.

Although she had to deal with crippling grief and a six-month-old baby, Wilkie ensured Dylan knew as much as possible about her dad.

“The things she can tell you about him will warm your heart and they are a testament to the importance and power of memories.

They include small things like a shared dislike of olives. Olives are yucky, we both can agree. Why people eat them we simply can’t see.”

The book is brimming with heart-breaking poems:

My good friend once told me, dad makes the sky pink

Each night when the sun sets, I stop, look and think.

Wilkie, a former lawyer, had writer’s block when she asked Dylan what she knew about her father. The youngster’s response became the basis for the lyrical prose, and her drawings the inspiration for North Perth illustrator Pauline Murphy, who drew colourful depictions of Dylan and her dad. The book is relevant to someone moving away, a marriage breakdown or a death, Wilkie says.

“We want to use the book as a tool. Kids can ask questions and we have an opportunity to have that dialogue.”

Dylan has the last word:

Whether we’re family, or friends passing though.

You’ll impact me and I’ll affect you.

Memories are forever, that’s why they’re really cool

My dad and I are quite alike, I only wish he knew.

You can buy Memories Are Forever at booksbykyliewilkie.com.au

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