Author’s latest book a journal on husband’s last months

May 25, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Barbara Heagy used to be known as Barbara McQuarry to a wide swath of people in the communities of Hockley and Orangeville. She retired a year or so ago from teaching and has had a writing and blogging career since then.

More than 10 years ago she married Tom Heagy and found, at last, in their middle years, her “true soulmate, the love of my life” until his death in 2015.

In a recent interview, she told us the tale of writing and publishing her book 10 – A Story of Life, Love and Loss and, secondly, her collaboration with five other authors to produce the book, Good Grief People.

The book is really Ms Heagy’s journal, written over the nine-month period in which she and Tom struggled with his cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is, she says, the story of how they approached that time with bravery and a positive attitude toward living as much life as possible in tough times.

Next was deciding on a route to publishing a work after Tom died.

She finished the manuscript of the journal she had kept through the time and “I found my own editor. She didn’t want it to be a journal – we had two months of debating,” Ms. Heagy related. Nevertheless, she went  on to say, “When I read it again, it was raw and emotional, in the moment, but still uplifting – I felt it might help others with the same sort of story. She [the editor] and I went back and forth until we finally had the compromise that was okay for us both.”

There is much in 10- that Ms. Heagy feels will be familiar to people who experienced similar struggles and will appreciate the comfort of sharing.

She opted to self-publish and promote the book herself.

She has been blogging since and offers inspirational work, acknowledging, “We make choices in life – you can chose misery or joy. You need ot find a purpose and work toward going for joy – to be filled with gratitude. I’m on Facebook as a writer with my own little messages. Now I’m learning to create memes – baby steps. I have a regular following. I also have a personal page – they sometimes overlap – to build up a following.”

About her online life, she said, “I  browse online to feed my muse – only uplifting writing – to contribute to the well being of myself and others.”

It was through Facebook writing that she met the other contributors to what was to become her next foray into publishing her work in a book.

Alan Anderson, Glynis M. Belec, Donna Mann, Ruth Smith Meyer and Carolyn Wilker, the others in Good Grief People, have in common their experiences with the death of loved ones, each quite different from the others, each with another point of view, given the details of his and her loss.

Here again, there is resolution, a chance to look to the future with the past as a time of learning and growing stronger.

“The universality of grief faces us all,” Ms. Heagy said. “We have tried to bring comfort with our own stories.”

The book has five categories, a resource list and quotes about how to get through the trials that grieving brings.

Ms. Heagy and another of the six authors of Good Grief People will be at BookLore on Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon to meet and greet people and sign their books for those wanting copies.


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