Author Cathy Stewart. (Special to The News)

Author Cathy Stewart. (Special to The News)

Author returns to Maple Ridge for book launch

Longtime Pitt Meadows resident writes about grief

A woman who raised her family in Pitt Meadows for 30 years is coming back to launch a book, and offer her late son’s many friends some answers about what caused his death.

Author Cathy Stewart will be introducing her book “Hope the Alchemy of Despair” at St. Luke’s Church Hall on Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.

It’s the story of this mother’s devastating grief due to the suicide of her eldest son, Alistair in 2014. She wanted to come back to his home town to release the book, to the many people who knew and loved Alistair.

“He was magical – he was very popular with everyone,” she said. “No one could understand why he would take his own life.”

Hundreds attended the celebration of life for Alistair in Stanley Park. He was 38 when he took his life in a Maple Ridge forest.

Cathy and her husband Willie raised their sons Alistair and James in Pitt Meadows from 1977 until 2006. They now live in Qualicum Beach.

“It is important to me to present this book to the many people who knew and loved Alistair,” she said. “Equally important and one of the themes of this book is to attempt to de-stigmatize suicide. The people of these communities were an important and contributing part to all our lives and it is critical to try to provide some answers to some unanswered questions.”

Cathy was a psychiatric nurse and clinician by trade, but has always been a writer and kept a journal. At the age of 72, she has started Endless Possibilities Publications to share some of her insights in the form of a book.

“As you write things, and search within your own psyche and soul, you realize how much wisdom you have accumulated,” she said.

“I didn’t want to write this book. It’s painful as hell. But as I came out of my own darkness, it was a calling.”

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She hopes the book can help others get through even the worst of sorrows.

“I believe that it is in the sharing of our stories that we can truly find peace and healing, leading to the joy that is our birthright,” she said. “Hope for transformation and acceptance of tragedy is the main objective of this short narrative. Grief will undoubtedly touch every life. This story will be of some benefit to others who have suffered difficult loss in their family.”

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