The Hope Family Calendar tracks Tom and Linda's emotional and surprising journey in the days and months following the sudden death of his wife/her daughter. Despite the tragic backdrop to the story it never becomes maudlin. Yes there is sadness, but there is also humour and a gallon load of warmth in the storytelling; you get the impression that the author really cares for the characters.
'So are you going in or what?'
It was a good question. I took a deep breath and pushed open the door. As the old man and I entered the room everyone in the circle turned to look at us. A man with small round John Lennon glasses and long, dark brown hair swept up into a ponytail smiled as us. He had the air of being someone in charge.
'Welcome, guys.' He gestured to us to sit down. 'Come on in, the more the merrier.'
Evidently the old man wasn't impressed at being addressed as a 'guy' by someone young enough to be his grandson, because he tutted under his breath so loudly that he might as well have shouted his displeasure. He and I took seats next to each other and after I'd exchanged a number of awkward smiles with the rest of the group, Ponytail checked his watch and announced that he was officially beginning the session.
'First off,' said Ponytail, 'I'd Just like to say how wonderful it is to see a few new faces ... and a few old ones too! For those who have never been before, here' what we're about in a nutshell: coping.