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Kerry Fisher & Pat Sowa
Kerry Fisher is an internationally bestselling author of seven novels including The Silent Wife and The Woman I Was Before. She has sold over a million books worldwide. Take My Hand – cowritten with her lifelong friend, Pat, about both of their sons’ struggles with life-threatening illnesses – is an extension of her honest and forthright storytelling. She has now adjusted her favourite quotation from her writing teacher: ‘This is fiction, we can skip the boring bits’ to ‘This is real life, let’s celebrate the boring bits.’
Pat Sowa is on what she calls a survivor’s mission to change the way we think about, treat and respond to mental illness, both as professionals and in our home lives. Pat campaigns for everyone to be taught the skills to spot mental distress. She is an inspirational keynote speaker and has addressed over 2000 leaders in education since 2018 as a way of honouring her love for Dom, her son who died from mental illness at the age of seventeen. She also trains Mental Health First Aid – just one of the many examples of the work she does to get people talking about suicide so we can get better at keeping our loved ones safe. 'As a human I just want to make a difference – make the world a kinder place to live in.' Take My Hand, co-written with Kerry Fisher, is her first published work.
Take My Hand
Friends for over thirty years, Kerry and Pat’s worlds came crashing down when their teenage sons were both diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses within weeks of each other.
They quickly discovered that there was no handbook on coping when your child is seriously ill but took solace in their friendship – texting at all hours and finding glimmers of dark humour on difficult days. Together these two ordinary mothers found a way to navigate their new normal and wanted to share what they’d learnt. With heartfelt honesty, they offer practical, sanity-saving strategies that allow you to keep putting one foot in front of the other when your family is in crisis, including how to:
- Tame raging mother guilt. It’s often the elephant in the room. Could I have prevented this happening? Is it all my fault? Kerry and Pat share all the reasons why you shouldn’t blame yourself.
- Ask for what you need from the people who want to help but don’t know how – forget the flowers but please fix the hoover, walk the dog and pick my other child up from school. Knowing someone else is dealing with everyday chores is a great comfort when you’re already spread too thinly.
- Look after yourself (even when you don’t care about yourself). When keeping someone you love alive consumes every scrap of energy, looking after yourself is at the bottom of the priority list. But serious illness can quickly deplete everyone’s resources: Kerry and Pat list all the ways they found to replenish their energy.
- Be hopeful in the aftershock of tragedy. Kerry and Pat show you how to move forwards alongside the grief, and still take the joy where you find it rather than waiting for the grief ‘to be over’ to start living again.
Like a wise companion offering comfort and hope, Take My Hand is a lifeline both to those overwhelmed by heartbreak and for friends and family who don’t know how to help. Most of all, it’s a powerful reminder that no matter how difficult life gets, you are not alone.
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