Eight years ago, Siobhán Kilfeather, who was suffering from a deadly cancer, went to Lourdes to pray to the Virgin Mary not for survival, but for more time to allow her young children to remember her.
When she returned to London, her doctors were amazed at her recovery:
Siobhán and Peter clung to each other as the radiologist continued. "Back in December we spotted a small lesion on the lungs. One month later the abnormality was the size of a walnut. By now we expected to be examining irregular cells the size of a grapefruit.
"Instead, there's nothing to be seen. The abnormalities have disappeared."
Siobhán's cancer returned seven years later, and this is her story as told by her mother-in-law Ellen Jameson in an upcoming book Siobhán's Miracle:
"I finally managed: 'How long do you think I've got?'He turned his face away from me and didn't answer. My head is so full of clutter I can't think straight.
"I should write to old friends I've lost touch with. Tell them I'm going to die. I can't seem to get things into proportion. The most important considerations are obviously my children and my husband, but also my work is important to me.
"My writing, my book, my students. Should I spend the last 12 hours of my life reading Jane Austen or writing an essay or singing nursery rhymes to my children?"