On the day my son was born, my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. I called her early that morning to share the good news and could hear the underlying fear in her voice.
She didn't know, at that point, what the diagnosis was, but I think she had a fair idea.
Later that afternoon, after the diagnosis and once I was home, I spoke to her again. Her overriding concern was that this special day would always be tinged with unhappiness for all of us. I laughed it off, assuring her I would remember the birth, not some doctor's appointment. Besides, she'd be fine.
She died 4 months later. Cancer of the oesophagus is a sneak, it doesn't let you know it's there until it's too late to do anything about it.
I'm not alone in losing a parent too young. She was only 66, and should have lived at least another ten years, long enough to see my children grow up.
My son is now 8. My eldest daughter is 14 and still misses her nan, because even at 6 she'd made an impact on her. She has kept the last Christmas card she received from her.
At her funeral, a colleague gave the most touching eulogy you could imagine, explaining how my mum had helped her through her cancer, how my mum would go out of her way to help anyone and how nothing was beneath her - despite having become the manager of the care home where she'd worked for over 20 years, she was just as willing to clear up an accident as she'd been the day she started.
Everybody should get one wish. For me, it would be to go back to a year or so before she died, persuade her to see a doctor. Maybe then she'd have received an early enough diagnosis.
My mum loved gadgets. She was the epitome of a Silver Surfer. She would love the Kindle, and she'd have been proud beyond measure that I was writing books and that the first was now available.
That this first book features time-travel is probably less of a coincidence than even I realised.
That I announced it's availability on 11 June - the anniversary of her death - is also less of a coincidence than I might have admitted to.
The book is dedicated to 4 people who are no longer with us. But today it's dedicated to Sylv (she hated that name).
Love you. Miss you.
The Long Second is available on Kindle now, from Amazon