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Sooner Than Tomorrow: A Mother's Diary About Mental Illness, Family, and Everyday Life

Author: Dede Ranahan

Publisher: Read First Press

ISBN 10: 1732974500
ISBN 13: 978-1732974500

Welcome to my world.

My story is written in diary format. I wrote it from June 15, 2013, to June 15, 2014. What I didn’t know, as I was writing, was that I was capturing the last year of my son’s life. Pat died, unexpectedly, on July 23, 2014, in a hospital psych ward. Suddenly, my diary morphed into a more poignant record than I’d anticipated, and after he died, I discovered Pat had been making regular posts on Facebook. I decided to add his comments to my own.

I like stories where I can extrapolate from the singular to the universal—that is where I can identify with a common denominator in another person’s experience. One early reader of my diary said, “Your story is so relatable.” That’s what I hope other readers will say.

You may relate to my story if:

You have a child (children) you love more than your own life.

You have a child who suffers from serious mental illness.

You’ve lost a child—no matter what age.

You’re a member of the sandwich generation.

You treasure conversations with children—especially when they’re your grandchildren.

Your cat or your dog is in charge of your household.

Your bones are beginning to creak.

You wake up each morning with a huge hole in your heart but you know, somehow, some way, you have to get up and put one foot in front of the other.

You enjoy reading the other side of history—about ordinary people and their daily lives.

You have a sense of humor.

You’ve been thinking of leaving something for your descendants—a letter, story, diary, song, painting, or poem—but you haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe my diary will spur you on.

More notes about format:

I’ve added a Before section (Scenes from the Trenches). Going in, I want the reader to know “Yes, Houston, we really do have a problem.” I’ve divided my diary into quarters—Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. I introduce each with a poem—three of them are Pat’s. I end with an After section I didn’t see coming.

As I was writing, I had no idea, from day to day, what stories were unfolding. I learn, right along with the reader, what will happen next. We’re all on a journey. Thank you for going on this journey with me. Dede

Dede posted her story in two-week increments at The following are readers’ responses.

Beautiful words with an undertone that has caught me . . . carrying me up and down. Such a good writer that I am grateful to be with you. I can borrow some courage here.


So happy for the readers who will discover you.


Dede, every one of your blog posts has a portion that I love so much that I take a screenshot and read it over and over.


Dede, I anxiously await each posting from your blog/book. You write with such skill, and not easy when it’s so personal, but your passion sprinkled with humor are the reasons that this is successful.

—Joan L.

I’ve done this, the primal scream and the mother animal instinct. There can’t be anything more painful, not even death. My son was a normal little boy and a normal young man until schizophrenia came calling. Now I feel so shattered. I love your diary.


If only this was all contrived drama. It’s so visceral. You’re an artist.

—Heidi F.