Turning Tragedy into Triumph
Pattie Welek Hall loves books. Growing up in a home where reading was considered dawdling, Pattie didn’t truly discover the wonderful world of reading until she was in her 20s. While it was her love of books that led her to a career with the bookseller giant Barnes and Noble, it was a tragic turn of events that led her to writing.
Every mother’s worst nightmare is getting that call in the middle of the night. Just by sheer timing, one instinctively knows bad news is calling. Pattie got one of those calls and that is where her book, A Mother’s Dance (Writelife Publishing 2015), begins.
From page one, when we learn her youngest son, Casey, has been in a motorcycle accident, had surgery as a “John Doe” for extensive brain trauma and is not expected to make it 24-hours, Pattie’s story of a mother’s love, faith, hope and perseverance is one we all can relate to. With twists and surprises, Pattie never thought she would find herself in this situation. And then, tragedy strikes twice. How can one mom handle so much?
A Mother’s Dance takes us on a moving and heart-wrenching true journey that is ultimately about healing. Pattie said, “I wrote this book in hopes it would bring healing to others. Instead I discovered I was the one who healed.”
I was able to catch up with Pattie at a small Charleston restaurant near her home and discuss her book. It was like talking to someone I’ve known all my life. We laughed and cried. Pattie is an incredibly strong woman, who filled me with awe and inspiration.
Q: Did you ever see yourself as an author?
A: I had a college professor who wouldn’t even put a letter grade on my paper. He merely said my writing was “primitive.” So, no, I never thought I would write a book. Although, I took his criticism and decided I wasn’t going to accept his opinion as my truth.
Q: In all that you have been through with your family, did you ever feel sorry for yourself?
A: I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I was a mom on autopilot trying to give my child the very best I could so he would survive.
Q: Many people experience tragedy. What led you to pen a book?
A: This project just kept coming to me over and over again. My story found me; I couldn’t not write it. I wrote my first word on July 28, 2010. The final book arrived at my door five years later to the day—July 28, 2015.
Q: If you had the opportunity to go back to one minute before the accident and change things, would you?
A: When tragedy strikes, I don’t think there is a person alive that wishes they couldn’t turn back time. And I don’t believe any person leaves this world without enduring storms in life, some mild and some treacherous. Yet it’s not the size of the squall that matters; it’s how we handle it that counts. So it gets down to “choice”…either we can stay stuck in our grief or we can create the life we were meant to create. I hope that my story of a mother’s love, the sad and the wondrous, can inspire others to brave their storms.
Q: What are some opportunities that have come with the book?
A: I was included in the Pulpwood Queens Book Club Girlfriend’s Weekend in January. There I sat with New York Times best-selling authors. I was one of the selected authors!
Q: What else are you doing?
A: I started Joy Radio blog talk radio. I interview authors and people from all walks of life who inspire, educate and empower through their own life stories. After going through so much grief, I asked myself, “What’s the opposite of grief?” That’s when I came up with Joy Radio. (blogtalkradio.com/joyradio)
Q: Final words?
A: Let love be the lens in which you see and embrace life, and may gratitude always be your silent prayer.