I’m Dylan, Scott’s son. I believe Dad has mentioned me in passing a few times over the years in various blogs, posts, and emails. I’d love to say it’s a pleasure to meet all of you directly, but, considering the context of this message, I’d be lying with each keystroke. Still, I’m going to do my best to inform you, enlighten you, and give you a general overview of what to expect in the coming months and years.
First, I want to say how honored, humbled, and appreciative I am of all your various correspondence since Dad’s passing. We’ve long known Dad had an incredibly loyal and supportive group of friends and fans, but I’ve been astounded by the number of deeply touching, well-articulated tributes we’ve received since we lost him. I’ve often found tears in my eyes, and I’ve often been at a loss for breath or for words.
I’ve started and stopped this message several times over the past few months, but I’ve finally arrived at a place where I feel like I can effectively communicate with you. The past year has been hell on earth for our family. 2018 started with Mom’s rapid decline and eventual passing after years of ferociously fighting off the most insidious disease this world has ever seen. Late in 2017, her doctors at Vanderbilt finally exhausted their options, and we were finally face-to-face with the day we had long-dreaded. It was incredibly difficult to helplessly watch the changes as Mom stopped treatment and the never-ending onslaught continued to chip away at her body and her dignity. She fought to the bitter end, all of us by her side. I’m so proud of her. We all are. I’ll be forever grateful for the laughs and love we shared, and for the privilege of having my love returned tenfold by such an extraordinary woman. Even the word ‘love’ doesn’t do justice to the bond she shared with Dad, Kody, and me. Our connection was deeper, almost as if the four of us comprised four parts of a single being.
Dad named me Dylan Thomas Pratt as a tribute to one of his favorite poets, Dylan Thomas, and more specifically to his favorite of Thomas’ poems, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” We often spoke of how Mom was the physical manifestation of that poem, of how she raged and raged because the people she loved most on this Earth were here, and she’d be damned if she was going to be anywhere else. Her courage and her spirit remain unmatched and undefeated.
The months after Mom’s passing were awful, especially for Dad. My sister and I were around every day to help with Mom’s care before she went, but Dad was living and breathing it. Every waking second of every day. When we lost her, Dad lost his purpose. He had cared for and loved her every single day for the thirty-two years they were together, but it’s a whole different level of commitment when someone you love is suffering through such a debilitating, sinister fight. Especially when that fight lasts more than 12 years. Even from a career standpoint, everything Dad was able to achieve was about providing Mom with a better, more comfortable life. When Mom passed, Dad was inconsolable. It took months for him to begin finding any joy in living again. Tragically, my sister and I felt Dad had started to turn the corner in the weeks before his passing. He was beginning to see reasons to keep going forward, not in a sense of forgetting Mom, but in a sense of trying to find some peace and fulfilment in his family and his innermost self. My sister and I have spoken many times since he died about how overcoming Mom’s death was the last obstacle he needed to conquer in a life chalked full of unimaginable hardship. Then, he was given a chance to join Mom in whatever lies beyond the veil. The opportunity presented itself, and he took it.
Since Dad was struggling to work on his solo novel towards the end of Mom’s life and after she went, he reverted to one of his core character traits: helping people. Aside from taking on voluntary duties helping to coach a local high school basketball team, he decided to lend his talents to two local authors by writing with them, editing their work, and eventually guiding them through the completion of their novels. The first of those novels, The Sins of the Mother by Dad and Mark Stout, was released in early November just before his passing.
Honor and duty. In his mind, these were among the most important foundational pillars in becoming a man, and he instilled these values deeply into me from a young age. As a family dealing with Mom’s cancer, we’ve been staring death in the eyes for a long time. Because of this, Dad often talked to me about my responsibility to our family after he was gone. He was adamant that it was my duty to continue driving his work, further cementing his legacy and what he’s left behind for our family. I will continue doing that. I also feel it’s my responsibility to finish out the projects he was working on. Here are those projects: two more books co-written with Mark Stout which he had already spent considerable time working on, two books co-written with Kelly Hodge which he had already worked on, and finally, Dad’s younger brother, Dan, and I will be finishing the solo novel, and possibly the three-book series, for Audible Originals that he was working on. We’ll also be writing a tenth installment in the Dillard series, a book we anticipate will be the last in the Dillard saga. I’m writing to let you know this because I don’t want anyone to feel like there’s any sort of profiteering going on. It’s a matter of honor, of finishing what he started. I will never publish anything under Dad’s name that he wasn’t directly involved in conceptualizing and working on. So, once these are finished, there won’t be anymore titles released under Dad’s name. At that time, I’ll evaluate which way I feel is best to move forward, and we’ll go from there. At some point, there will be a biography written about Dad. He was an extraordinary man that led an extraordinary life. When the time is right, I’ll make sure whoever writes it does him justice.
We’re still reeling from this. I’ve lost my two most precious people over the past six months. All I know to do is try to pick up the pieces and do my best to live in a way that honors their legacy and makes them proud. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I loved them both before I was born, and I’ll love them both after I’m long gone.