In David’s bestselling novels of suspense, fear is often the main subject. But David himself had never known genuine terror until he watched his 15-year-old son wage a heroic but doomed struggle with cancer. This is a father’s powerful and unforgettable story of fierce love, impenetrable loss, and an unexpected, breathtaking encounter with the miraculous. Ultimately, Fireflies is a tribute to the undying human spirit that has moved readers around the world.
My son Matthew died from the complications of bone cancer (a heart attack due to septic shock during recovery from a bone marrow transplant). He was diagnosed in January of 1987 and was dead by June. In this memoir, I tell his story and the story of my family’s reaction to his sickness and death. Of all the books I’ve written, this one has received the most response, mainly from parents who lost children and who take some comfort from what I say about grief. The book is about despair and loss and God. It’s also about eerie experiences that made me believe I was getting some sort of contact from my son. I know that sounds odd, but as the priest/novelist Father Andrew Greeley wrote to me, in his experience more than half the people he has counseled for grief had a similar sensation but didn’t feel free to talk about it for fear of being thought strange. The proceeds from this book go to a fund in Matthew’s name at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he died. The e-book edition contains a new chapter that I added to the original 1988 publication.
“I found myself almost speechless…It left me feeling shaken, uplifted, and terribly moved.”
“Skillfully combining fictional and nonfictional writing, Morrell tries to convey the feeling of having a beloved teenaged son die of a rare form of cancer. With sensitivity, in agony, and in love, he recounts the progress of the disease and treatment; the continuing hope and setback; and the difficult choices he and his wife needed to make (including a 15-minute, no-second-thoughts decision in the midst of major surgery). He vividly recounts his admiration for his son’s courageous persistence; his own nearly overwhelming panic attacks; his poignant denial of his son’s death; and the comfort of three seemingly mystical signs he received. Highly recommended.”