Memoir

I wrote a book-length (75k words) memoir about what happened to me before and after cancer. It’s called Hardest Words. It’s not published yet. This is the short synopsis:

Hardest Words

by Jennifer Parry

Synopsis

Jennifer is twenty-six years old when her life is shattered by her father’s suicide. An ethereal voice tells her to contact her father, who lives over 500km away and is estranged from the rest of the family. The next morning her father hangs himself.

She didn’t have the courage to hear his pain and can’t accept that he is dead. She won’t forgive herself for not helping him. Her life unravels, and her beliefs and values are invalidated.

She becomes an outsider in her own life and cannot cope with things she once took for granted. Forced to quit her job, she surrenders her independence to live with her mother in her home town of Hervey Bay.

Still plagued by her father’s death, she can’t hold down a job due to a dogged sense of alienation. Eventually she decides to become a nomad, although her plans are cut short by an unexpected job offer in Emerald.

In Emerald she meets her husband. They begin to build a life together; buying a block of land and having house plans drawn up. Soon after she is diagnosed with a brain tumour: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and is given three to twelve months to live.

She endures treatment and recovery and the painful loss of friendships and family relationships. All of her cancer friends die. She is left with survivor guilt, alcoholism and severe depression coupled with self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Ultimately, her father’s suicide stays her hand. Her slow recovery comes through a commitment to a new lifestyle, the completion of a university degree and the decision to see her hardships as a powerful force shaping her tenacity and decency. The story concludes with her embarking on a 400km solo hike to raise money for GBM research.

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