Commemorative Two-in-One Hardback Editon of “I am my father’s son” and “Bedside” entitled “I am Bedside” Available Now
Last night, as Amy was settled in and as I was comfortably asleep, my oldest daughter, Meredith, gently walked into our bedroom with tears in her eyes. She had just finished reading my edit copy of, “I am Bedside”. This is a hardback combination edition of the book I wrote for my father, “I am my father’s son” and the book I wrote for my mother, “Bedside: A Memoir of Care”.
She approached our bed gingerly (as I don’t wake up gingerly), crawled in like she used to do when she was little, and snuggled. She told me she loved the book, she missed her grandparents, and that she loved me and Amy. Then she went to bed.
That was all the affirmation I needed. I wrote each of the books for my parents as an opportunity for me to celebrate and remember who they were, but I also wrote them to remind my children and others of Thom and Ann Duncan so that their memory will never be lost.
I’m excited that Gospel Rich Books is releasing this commemorative hardback edition of both books in one entitled “I am Bedside”. This will be a limited run of 250 copies and available for a limited time.
Thanks to all who loved Sam and Ann. Thanks to all who have purchased these books. Thanks to everyone who loved them as much as I did and still do.
You can purchase copies here, and please leave a note to let me know if you enjoy it.
One injury as an adult sticks out the most. My first job out of college was teaching high school English at an alternative school. To “qualify” for my school, you had to be expelled from one of the county’s other schools. The staff was small (four-five teachers), the hours were long, and I absolutely loved it.
Early on in that first year, the four of us were riding together back from a county-wide training session. We were together in our science teacher’s Jeep Cherokee.
As we were riding along a country road, an animal of some sort jumped out in front us, and our driver swerved into the other lane. As she did, I yelled, “Look out,” as we were now in the path of an oncoming paint van. That’s right: we were now facing a van full of cans of paint.
We collided full-speed, head-on both at 55 mph.
Our jeep was spun around, the van’s grill was crushed, and there was paint everywhere you could imagine.
We all survived with various concussions, broken bones, and soreness. I had a gash on my forehead, was incredibly sore, but was, for the most part, okay.
I remember waking up in the hospital and finding Mom sitting by the bed and Sam standing beside her. Even as an adult, they had come to take care of me.
They both took me home and put me to bed. They spent the night, and I slept for about twelve hours. I remember waking up in the morning incredibly sore and a bit disoriented. I walked into the kitchen to find my mom cooking for me. She quickly rushed me back to bed and told me I was to spend the day lying down. She had chicken soup for me, and of course, she had made cookies.
Mom wouldn’t let me out of bed all day. She would come to me and stand bedside and check on me throughout that entire day.
Mom worried a lot about me, and not just on that day. But as I looked at her by my bed in my apartment, I felt like she loved the opportunity to take care of me once again.
Fast forward eighteen years, Amy and I are sitting bedside, and I am holding Mom’s hands in the moments before she passes…
I’m sad but thankful for the opportunity in a small way to return the love she gave to me.
The remainder of this story picks up in “Bedside – A Memoir of Care” – you can find it at
Mom sent me off to college with a hope and a worried look. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for my tuition, and I had only graduated from high school a few months prior. I wasn’t the most mature guy in the world. Mom was sweet and brave to send me off, but she was also incredibly concerned.
Since she couldn’t send money regularly, Mom offered whatever else she could. And since I was dating a girl at another college, I came home a lot that first semester. This was where Mom could help out.
Most weekends, I would come home with dirty laundry and return with a basket of clean clothes. This would save me a couple of precious buck’s worth of quarters each week, and I think Mom secretly enjoyed it. I eventually took this over as I broke up with the girlfriend, but every single time I came home, Mom would ask if she could do laundry. I, of course said yes. Mom actually appeared to get upset as I took the clothes washing over myself, but she always looked forward to the holidays when she could do it herself.
I would also come home hungry and return with as much food as my Mom could provide. Typical gifts were Mom’s amazing homemade sugar cookies and leftovers of whatever Mom and Sam had for Sunday lunch.
But there was one more thing Mom always offered. At that time, my wonderful Aunt Alice worked at a Pizza Hut. Their norm was to let the employees take home any leftover or messed up orders of pizza at the end of the night. Aunt Alice would give Mom any pies that she could, and Mom would freeze them all week for me to take them back to college.
So each Sunday afternoon, as I would head back to good old East Carolina University (ECU), Mom would load me up with pizza. But still there was a challenge. I didn’t have a cooler, and even if I did, my little car didn’t have much room for it.
So, Mom devised a plan. She would break the pizzas into their individual slices, put them in several gallon Ziploc bags, and then she would put them all in trash bags full of ice. That way, I could transport the pizza easily, I could freeze certain bags, and my portions were pretty much already laid out for me.
That was always a helpful thing when this college student didn’t have a meal plan and had to eat each meal with two dorm fridges, a toaster over, and a microwave.
When it came to meals, the two Shehdan sisters took care of me.
Very excited to announce that “Bedside – A Memoir of Care” can be found everywhere today. But to help you out, you can find “Bedside” at the following locations:
Back in the mid-80’s, I would listen to a show on the local college radio station called “Chainsaw Rock”. Anytime a song came on that I wanted, I would record it on a cassette tape, so I would always have these rough mix tapes full of 80’s metal lying around.
I remember driving the station wagon with Mom as we were making the last delivery of the day which typically was delivering flowers to the hospital.
One day, my mix tape was running through whatever songs I had recorded, and I was singing along. Mom was doing something with her purse when all of a sudden, I heard her lowly sing, “I wanna be somebody, be somebody too.”
Nothing wrong with those lyrics, huh? The funny part was that Mom was singing along with me to a song written by the band WASP. WASP was a disgusting band that threw raw chunks of meat into the crowd and the lead singer drank blood out of a skull. Whatever the shock factor, they were for it.
Here was this four foot, ten inch, pastor’s wife with a cute little bun on top of her head singing along to one of the bands that launched the whole PMRC censorship battle with Tipper Gore.
“I wanna be somebody.”
I decided not to embarrass her, but instead, I just looked over and said, “I love you, Mom. You are awesome.” She looked back, and said, “I love you, too.”
After that, she stopped singing, but every now and then, I would catch her humming along.
“I wanna be somebody.”
“Memoir” will be available on September 17th in multiple formats:
Every now and then, companies will make them available ahead of time. Click and see. Thanks.
After writing, “I am my father’s son” for my dad, I thought writing a book for my mom would be easy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Ann Shehdan Duncan wasn’t hard to write about because there weren’t stories to tell. There are plenty. But Mom was difficult to write about because she lived a quiet, more subdued life than Sam (my affectionate name for Dad). Hopefully, you’ll find these words warm and affectionate. Any stiffness is just my attempting to put Mom into words. That was not an easy task.
So, to begin, what I did was to ask folks for stories. I asked Amy (my wife) and my kids what they remembered. I asked my brothers and sisters. I asked anyone that I felt might remember Mom to tell me about her.
It’s not that I wanted to tell their stories. I wanted to tell mine. But I needed to hear theirs to help trigger memories.
Fortunately, writing “I am my father’s son” caused me to reflect a good bit about my mom. Ann Shehdan Duncan was an amazing woman. I don’t say that in a, “my mom has passed so I’m going to gloss,” attitude. She really was. It was (and still is) difficult to find any one person with a disagreement with her. Any that she had, she resolved quickly. She believed in keeping no records of wrongs.
Now, I know that no life is free of conflict, but at her death, and throughout most of her life, she lived fairly conflict free. Her reputation was sweet and Godly. People loved Mom and for good reason: she was amazing.
So, what I hope to do in these meager pages is express some of the reasons why I loved her, and as always, that is best done in story.
I also hope these words enable you to enjoy and know Mom better. If you knew her, you might smile and maybe even cry. If you didn’t know her, you will wish you did. Either way, in writing them, I have found a greater love and appreciation for her.
Look for details about the release of “Bedside – A Memoir of Care” very soon.