I believe, I like to believe, that Dad was telling us about one of the saddest books he’s ever read; a journal of a man who’s slowly dying.
“At one point, he’s applying for the army, to fight in the First World War. He’s given a sealed letter by his family doctor, but he’s told not to look at what’s inside it. The army doctor says no, he’s not fit for the armed forces. He’s curious, so he opens up the letter on the train home, and finds that his doctor had written to tell whoever was examining him that he has multiple sclerosis. It’s a wasting disease that’ll kill him in only a few years. The rest of the diary is the rest of his life, as he slowly succumbs to it.”
I don’t remember if Dad ever read any of it to us, but he recommended it for when we were older; it was a terribly sad but beautifully written book.
I only got around to reading properly it this year.