Guest Post: Just One Life by Pat Abercromby

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from the author of the Just One Life book. Please help me by giving a warm welcome to Pat!


What inspired the writing of the book?

I have led an interesting life, pursuing different career pathways including a long gap to raise two children. Before the children, I had worked in medical research and then set up my own recruiting agency for finding suitable candidates for my client companies in the pharmaceutical industry. My husband was a flight engineer and for many years we lived overseas as he had flying contracts with international airlines. One country we lived in for six years was Saudi Arabia where I hosted a radio chat show for a year of two and wrote columns and features articles for the Arab English speaking press.

Back in the UK at the age of fifty I retrained in therapeutic massage, sports massage and Seated Acupressure Massage. The latter is perfect for taking into offices to treat staff as a session is only twenty minutes through clothes on the ultra-comfortable massage chair. I was keen to train other therapists is this discipline, so I gained a post graduate certificate in education and with my business partner Davina and we taught courses all over the UK and Ireland for ten years. I loved it.We also wrote and published the first book on Seated Acupressure Massage in 2000 which is still available on Amazon. I also worked with my husband and a team of experienced, retired aviators for three years to start up a new concept, a long haul low cost airline (Dreamcatcher Airways, my choice of name). We were leasing a 747 Combo jet to start with which would carry freight and passengers. The plan was to offer inflight chair massage treatments and all the rows of seats would be a comfortable distance apart. This was our USP. It was all very exciting but the night before our launch, when we were celebrating with champagne, we learned that one of our investors had been arrested by the FBI for money laundering! The venture collapsed immediately with devastating consequences for all those involved. A few months later, my husband had a serious stroke had has never recovered. Our lives changed in a heartbeat, I had to give up my training school career to care for him full time. We had burned up all our savings and investments on the airline project and we struggled to make ends meet on just our pensions.

For eight years when I looked after him at home, I forgot who I really was and became invisible. He deteriorated, started having seizures and developed vascular dementia. Two years ago, he went into a residential dementia care nursing home. I claimed back some of my freedom and found my voice again. I needed an outlet for the frustration of the lost years and I quickly wrote a short fictional, but cathartic story of 10,000 words using my knowledge of medical research and journalism to craft the outline of the plot. Being a journalist first, the story was all ‘telling’ and factual, hardly any dialogue. A couple of friends who read it thought I should use some of my own life’s experiences in other countries to expand on the story and try to get it published. I wanted the main premise to be about how a life can change overnight when a family member suddenly needs full time care. As his wife, I took on the mantle of caring automatically. People used to say I was ‘doing a marvellous job,’ but as I know from talking to many other carers, one’s own life is totally sublimated. What got me through those dark years was the support of my friends, friends to whom you can confess, ‘I could kill him!’ and not be judged. Friends who could make you laugh and let you cry when you needed to.
I joined a creative writing class. It was wonderful to learn the craft of writing from the tutor and to have the opportunity to read extracts from the story and have it constructively appraised by my fellow writers. We all encouraged one another and it helped to keep me going.

I basically wrote the story for me, but hopefully it will help anyone who reads it and is a carer themselves, or knows a carer, to remember that they too have a life to lead and that needs to be supported and acknowledged in any way possible. I mentioned the importance of friendship earlier and I have been blessed with some extraordinary friends in my life and this story is a tribute to them too.

Thanks Pat for coming by the blog today and sharing with us :)


More details about the book:
Just One Life

When you realise you have just one life left to live, how do you make peace with the mistakes of your past? Fran should be looking back on her life with pride. She’s risen to the top of the job ladder, having left behind a council housing estate in post-war Glasgow, to forge a colourful, fulfilling career and enjoy all the trappings of success.

But instead, Fran is consumed by regret. A shocking revelation has cast her life, and her thirty-year marriage, asunder. She finds herself the full-time carer for her husband, a man she now accepts, she has never loved. The sacrifices she has made, the personal freedoms she has lost, have left Fran crushed. Her free-spirited friend Iona is her one salvation. Their friendship has survived the storms of conflict and loss since childhood, their deep affection for one another the only constant remaining in Fran’s life, a life she no longer recognises as her own.

Her husband’s new brush with death will give Fran the chance to reflect on what she has left, the choices she has made and the two men she has loved and lost.
Can Fran find a way through the ruins of her marriage and find inner peace, to make the most of what remains of her life's journey?

About the author: Living in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Pat Abercromby has enjoyed a varied career - from recruitment consultant to journalist in Saudi Arabia and massage therapist - eventually setting up a training school for Seated Acupressure Massage. Today she continues to work within the field of corporate wellness with her business partner Davina Thomson with their joint company Wellbeing Direct. She also co-wrote and published Seated Acupressure Massage with Davina Thomson in 2000. In her spare time, Pat enjoys being an active member of her local creative writing group, classical music and the outdoors.

Happy Reading!

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