Written by Diane Clarke
In 2010, I decided to write a book. I had time on my hands and found myself reflecting on my past. My life had been such a rollercoaster due to an adverse childhood experience, many knew nothing about. Writing was a way of expressing my thoughts, a way of breaking my silence. I guess, I was writing it for my children, as some sort of legacy. I wanted them to have an understanding of what I had been through. I had always tried my best as a mother but knew their childhood had also been affected by my trauma.
Starting To Write
I began writing about the 15th of April 1978, the day my father killed my mother. I could recall every detail like it was yesterday. I was ten years old and in an instant my whole world had fell apart.
My husband questioned why I was writing about the past. “What good will it do?” he said, concerned about my mental health. Writing wasn’t earning me any money, it was consuming my time but it felt good. When I started a new job the book was put on hold. A few years later, I went through redundancy and again had time on hands. My father had visited to give me a couple of photograph albums. I finally had pictures of my mother’s beautiful face, I continued my book, reflecting on the past, I wrote about my turbulent adolescence days.
I began working as a teacher and the book was again put to one side. There were odd occasions when I found the time to add a few paragraphs and we would joke about how long it would take to complete. I still had no intention of publishing it but I started to see it as an informative journey and it felt quite therapeutic realising my life had been so predictable, full of vulnerability, exploitation and prejudice. My work in the education sector, prepared young people for adulthood. I was ensuring they knew all about healthy relationships, equality and safeguarding, subjects I had not experienced during my teenage years. I dedicated all my spare time to teaching, creating informative lessons and again my book was abandoned.
In September 2019, I had left the UK, and set up home on a little island in the Mediterranean. My plan was to soak up the sun and lead a simple, stress free life. The pandemic sent the world into PTSD melt down, everyone talked about their mental state, the loneliness, their fear of death, and uncertainty. It felt good that most people now knew how I felt.
With lockdown, I had time on my hands but this time, I had purpose. I realised I could publish my book to raise funds for the charity. The chapters continued chronologically. I had weekly meetings with a friend who offered to proof read my work. As an avid reader herself, she couldn’t wait to read the next chapter which spurred me on to continue. “This will be a best seller” she said and that filled me with hope. Someone, who had read my book, believed in me and what I had suffered all seem to make sense.
The book had taken ten years to write and as I had matured my views had changed. My journey had taken me from forgiveness to hatred because my father couldn’t fix what he had broken. I had become consumed with my own thoughts and finally needed to heal myself. My father may not agree with what I have to say in my book but he has admitted he wasn’t a good father and I should have received some support. He also understands how important my book is for raising awareness to fundraise for a very special charity. The book, was never about revenge for what my father did, it was always about how that childhood experience impacted on me.
Supporting Trauma Victims
I had often thought things happen for a reason and writing about my life, evidenced everything had reason. Personally, I had suffered a range of abusive experiences. I had discovered information on my fathers trial, the autopsy report and newspaper articles.
Career wise, I had not only supported vulnerable people, worked with victims of domestic abuse, spoke at conferences and trained professionals, I had also facilitated positive parenting groups, delivered therapeutic programmes, projects and lessons. For my own mental health and to help others, I had researched and educated myself on many topics, which included domestic abuse and overcoming childhood trauma.
My book had value, to educate, inform and help others. I knew it wasn’t a book for children but it was dedicated to them.
Choosing To Self Publish
After completing my work, I set about self publishing. As a novice, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. My first edition needed to be reformatted so the text was larger. I was proud to say I was a published author but it had it’s consequences. I was overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts following feedback from a cousin. She threatened to sue me for slander, along with other family members.
I had looked into libel, I had been careful not to name certain people who could have lost their jobs, particularly a police officer, a parish councillor and three famous footballers, all of whom had exploited their positions. I hadn’t expected a family member to call me a liar. On reflection that corroborated the type of ignorant people they were, condescending ‘The Daughter of a Murderer’. I echoed those words in response, it was a true account and I heard nothing more.
Would I write a book again? Absolutely! My next book will be for children bereaved by a domestic homicide and I am currently working on the characters. I also write to my Patrons each week about my progress setting up the charity, CatchU. After reading my book, you may also want to join us as a valued Patron and learn more about the work I now do. You may even decide to write a book yourself, it is a very liberating experience. It really has made my life worthwhile and have meaning.
Find More From Diane Clarke
Diane Clarke, is the founder and CEO of the Charity for Abused & Traumatised Children Handling Uxoricide, domestic homicide or suicide in the context of domestic abuse. #CatchU and the author of “Daughter of a Murderer” available from Amazon.
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