Two mantras I adopted in my younger years were:

(1) “If a person hurts you once, shame on them; if a person hurts you twice, shame on you.” I accepted an early responsibility to protect myself and learn survival skills.

(2) “This above all, to your own self be true.”
My search for truth took unexpected turns and detours through the journey of my life.

I would like to thank the following people for inspiration along the way:

Extended family who provided books to read when I was young, practical supports, clothes to wear, and alternative experiences to life on the farm,

The few people who offered “congratulations” or “well done” in what seemed a sea of criticism and alienation,

The Sisters who provided a second home of sorts through my first years of University,

My daughter Cara who provided me with a reason to settle down and build a responsible life, who allowed me to experience the world again through the eyes of innocence, and who opened my heart to incredible depths of love,

Social Work professors and supervisors who helped me integrate feelings and theory,

Educators who inspired professional development through my years of employment,

The New Age church which helped ground me in positive thought, fun, and social activities after my return to Alberta,

Clients who shared their inner secrets and allowed me the incredible privilege of witnessing and supporting their transformations,

The love and devotion of my husband, Will, who has provided unflinching support for 25 years, and the wonderful extended family I have the joy of sharing with him,

CEASE: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation in Edmonton with Executive Director Kate Quinn, Board members, staff, volunteers and survivors who allowed expression of my grief and provided a focus for creating meaning from the depths of tragedy,

Victims of Homicide Support Society in Edmonton which provided monthly meetings with other nice normal people whose ordinary lives were shattered by murder, and

Project KARE Victims Services which, for a while, was an amazing resource.
Having always been an avid reader, I find it difficult to pick a few favourites books. Authors most influential over the years include:

  • Melody Beattie, Co-dependent No More (1986) and all her books,
  • Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It (1989) and all his books,
  • Bruce Fisher, Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends (1986),
  • Mark Victor Hansen, Dare to Win (1988) and many Chicken Soup books,
  • Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery (1992),
  • Victor Malarek, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It (2010),\
  • Sukie Miller, Finding Hope When a Child Dies (1999),
  • Rachel Moran, Paid For (2103),
  • Robin Norwood, Women Who Love Too Much (1985),
  • Deborah Spungen, And I Don’t Want to Live This Life (1983),
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952),
  • Alan Wolfelt, Healing Your Traumatized Heart (2002) and his many other books.

Writing coaches in the last two decades include:

  • Reinekke Lengelle, Writing for the Heart, University of Alberta Extension (2001. 2003)
  • Rusti Lehay, Advanced Creative Writing, Minerva, MacEwan University (2014, 2015)
  • Shirley Serviss, Writing Your Life & Persona Essays, City of Edmonton (2016, 2017)
  • Cathleen With, mentor, Vancouver Manuscript Intensive on-line program (2016)

Women’s Writing Group members – Barb, Elaine, Jean, Joyce, Kathy F, Laurel, Margaret, Marion, Muffy, Mufty, Sara, and Wendy – who have all been generous in sharing their wisdom and resources. I was fortunate to join the group in 2016.

Special appreciation to my team of Website / Manuscript supports:

Enthusiastic and articulate advocate Andrea Felczak who reviewed early drafts,
Wise and discerning Mufty Mathewson who critiqued close-to-final presentations,
Meticulous copyeditor Ruqaya, Editing by R, who helped fine-tune my words,
Inspiring and steadfast Kate Quinn for her gifts of political insight and correctness,
And creative genius Lynda Baxter and Margot Connery, from Chix Design, who brought my website to life,

Thank you to everyone who supported my recovery, my professional development, and my creativity over the years, and to all who have inspired me with their own transformative lives. There are far too many to mention.

Standard disclaimer: I take responsibility for any errors as my own. While I honour historical accuracy, my memoir is also shaped by perceptions, musings, and personal reflections.