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Friday, November 11, 2022

Local Bridgenorth resident self-publishes memoir

BY VANESSA STARK

A local Bridgenorth resident has self-published a memoir that focuses on the journey of loss and grief. Patti Kimball of Selwyn lost one of her best friends in 1988 while living in Peterborough at the age of 14.

According to a press release, Kimball’s book focuses on her story of the unexpected death of teenaged Aprile McIntosh which shocked the city of Peterborough in the late 80s. One minute, she was heading to the bus stop for a night out with friends, then she collapsed in the snow not far from her home.

Since that evening, the release said, Aprile’s close friend Patti Kimball has been processing that loss and what it meant for her family and social circle. That journey culminates in a new book entitled Siren on Repeat: What My Best Friend’s Death Taught Me About Hope and Grief. No matter how much Patti tries, she still feels the echoes of the ambulance going by her house that night.

“I would say it’s been a 34 year process,” Kimball said about writing her story, “I really started toying with the idea in 2017 and then in 2020, when the pandemic hit, like a lot of people, I decided that it was time to pivot and really re-evaluate what was important to me and it was the time for me to do that and to write it.”

Kimball said that her book is for people who have experienced or are experiencing grief and loss.

“The book is based on my struggle with [grief and loss], when I lost my best friend at age 14. So I share my most raw and tender moments, and I put it into a relatable language, so that people are able to look at where they’re at in their own grieving process and maybe see it from another perspective, leaving them with a good sense of hope and inspiration.”

The hybrid self-help/memoir novel is written in a narrative non-fiction style which weaves Kimball’s learned experiences through her memories in a way that is entertaining and allows the reader to explore what they’re feeling throughout their own process, according to the author.

Kimball is a Registered Practical Nurse with a background in social service work and is a mindset and emotional wellness coach.

She said that her experience at age 14, dealing with loss and grief impacted her future career choices.

“When something that profound happens, it changes you and I always just gravitated toward wanting to be helping people in some way. So from there, I became more empathetic more compassionate and really felt a sense of responsibility to be able to help people in any way that I could to get to a good feeling place. So when you’re nursing that’s constant, it’s all the time. And so you’re helping people to feel better physically, but there’s a huge mental health component to that too.”

Her book, Siren on Repeat: What My Best Friend’s Death Taught Me About Hope and Grief, was released online on Oct. 31 and is available through the Chapters, Barns and Noble, Friesen Press websites in paperback, hardcover or e-book formats.

She said that it will soon be coming to brick and mortar stores in the near future.  

Since the release of her book, Kimball said that she has had many people reach out to her with stories of how her book has helped them through some tough times.

“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from many people who have found it to be a book that they couldn’t put down, where they found it entertaining. They were really touched by the story. I had one gentleman reach out to me that told me that he found it extremely helpful because he recently lost his dog and he found it very therapeutic. So, loss is loss and what I found as people have been reaching out, whether they’re experiencing the loss of a loved one, or a pet, or just a loss of a job, loss is loss whatever people are missing, and they’re able to adapt [the story].”

Kimball said that she first started writing at the age of 14 to process some of her grief around Aprile’s death, and will continue to publish her works through her blog.

“I’ll always continue writing. I actually I started writing when I was 14. So when Aprile died is when I started writing, so I wrote a lot of poetry working through a lot of my feelings in that fashion. And currently, I have my website, pattikimball.com, where I write blog and it’s mainly inspirational pieces that will make people be able, with all the chaos and everything that kind of happens in the world, to be able to just read something that might be a little bit more encouraging for folks. And another book is in the works, I’m already starting on something. So, there’s always something happening. It’s really exciting.”.