For Richard Daury, the long-awaited release of his book was a dream come true, but he’s quick to point out there will be no more books for him in the future.
“No,” said the 52-year-old Queens Manor resident just a few days before his book was launched. “I don’t think I could do it again. This one took a lot out of me and it gave me an appreciation of what it takes to write book. It’s a lot of work.”
For Daury, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, writing his book started as a sort of mental therapy and a way to pass the time as the effects of the disease worsened, but it became a 10-year journey that culminated with the book’s official release on July 11.
The 62-page self-published book, titled My Piece of Paradise in South West Port Mouton, chronicles Daury’s life, mixing in memoires of his home, of his family and of his work as a waterfowl technician with the Canadian Wildlife Services. Daury, who moved into the long-term care facility in Liverpool when he was just 41, is the youngest resident at Queens Manor, but he doesn’t lament the fact that he’s confined to the home or to a wheelchair. In fact, he said, while noting that while the disease may have ravaged his body, his mind is still sharp, it’s that message of hope and never give up attitude that he tried to convey in his book.
“There are just some things that you can’t change,” he said. “And my condition is one of them. What’s the good to complain?”
Instead, he added, he determined a long time ago that all he can do is face life as it comes and take whatever challenges are thrown at him.
“You have to play the cards you’re dealt,” he said, while talking about his condition. “What other choice do you have? I try to remain positive no matter what and that helps me get through the day.”
Daury, who graduated with a bachelor of science from Acadia in 1988 and a master’s in science with honours in 1991, says he first began experiencing symptoms in 1988 when he was duck hunting with a friend.
“When I started seeing two ducks instead of the one duck that was actually there, I knew there was something wrong,” he recalls.
And there was. Over time, the disease took its toll, slowly ravaging his body and today, he struggles to control his muscles, but he remains positive about life.
“You got to take it,” he said with conviction. “You got to roll with it.”
And roll with it he did. He remained in his Port Mouton home as his mother took care of him for as long as she could, but when it became too much for her to handle, he came to Queens Manor, which is now his home.
“I like it here,” he said during the interview conducted in his private room decorated with a variety of pictures, family mementos and duck sculptures. “The people here are really good to me.”
While he said he appreciates the help and support all the staff have given him over the years, he is especially grateful to Jill Cole, the facility’s recreation director, who helped make his book a reality.
“She wrote down everything I told her,” he laughs. “I couldn’t have done it without her help.”
With his book, which he dedicated to his father Wilbert “Wimpy” Daury now completed, Daury said he plans to concentrate all his mental strength on doing crosswords, which he does on a computer as he can no longer hold a pen or pencil.
Motioning toward his wheelchair he added, “I may not be able to get a physical workout, but at least I can work out the brain.”