In Caddis Wood by Mary F. Rockcastle
In Caddis Wood by Mary F. Rockcastle is a beautiful and touching story told in alternating points of view from Carl, an accomplished architect, and Hallie, a published poet. On what seems to be a major night for Carl celebrating his life’s work, he faints. After a variety of symptoms and doctors’ visits, he’s diagnosed with Shy-Drager syndrome, a degenerative neurological disorder.
The story walks you through Carl and Hallie’s lives and the baggage they’ve carried around. Both Carl and Hallie had less than idyllic childhoods. Carl’s father cheated on his mother repeatedly and was killed in a car accident with another woman. Hallie’s mother walked out on her family when she was young. Both of these events shaped Carl and Hallie’s life and marriage.
Carl’s past drove him to be a dedicated workaholic, providing for his family, but not always present. Hallie, whose focus was her family, often feels neglected and corresponds with another man whom she had feelings for years ago.
The story includes their grown daughters, Beatrice and Cordelia. Beatrice still has neurological damage from a car accident in her youth and Cordelia lost her soul mate to a forest fire. Jack, Bea’s husband, has also become an integral part of their family unit.
I could not put this book down. While many may find this book sad, since you’re slowly watching Carl waste away, I was compelled by how this family united in this tragedy as they had with the tragedies in their past. The joys both big and small they found in so many ways were endearing to read about.
In life, every day people overcome adversity, lose those they love, fight or suffer with debilitating illnesses. This story is about one family navigating through what life has given them. This story touched my heart and I will be sure to keep this on my shelf to remind me of the power of love and the strength of family. I urge you to put it on yours, as well.