St Albans mum pens self-help book for grieving people

Carolyn Puttnam at the book launch. Picture: Carolyn Puttnam

Carolyn Puttnam at the book launch. Picture: Carolyn Puttnam - Credit: Archant

A St Albans mum has published a self help book to help bereaved people deal with grief.

Six years ago a former beauty therapist and counselling student, Carolyn Puttnam, was on her honeymoon in Australia when she received the worst possible news.

Her father, who had been diagnosed with leukaemia just seven weeks before, had taken a turn for the worst.

Although they raced home, Carolyn and her husband did not make it back before he passed away.

Three weeks later her father-in-law passed away and nine months after that her grandmother died.

The quick succession of deaths left Carolyn in shock and struggling to cope with her grief. She has written Cuddle a Memory, How to Survive Losing a Loved One to help people manage bereavement in a healthy way.

Carolyn, who lives in Cottonmill, said: “I went a little bit cuckoo. I thought I was coping by thinking ‘death is something that happens and it’s something we have to cope with’ but I actually internalised it all and I drove myself a little bit mad.

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“I suffered with anxiety - I was having panic attacks at work - and it affected my confidence at the time. I thought I was coping and it’s only now, with distance, I can see what a pickle I was in.

“When you suffer a bereavement you are in shock, so to an extent you are fine and it’s only later you realise that you actually will never see that person again.”

The 39-year-old sought to find a self-help book that would guide her through the grieving process, but found much of the material was dense and clinical.

After attending a business conference with mentor Raymond Aaron and signing up to his initiative, The 10-10-10 Program, Carolyn was inspired to write her own self-help book.

She said it was cathartic: “As I got into the process, there were a lot of emotions that I hadn’t dealt with at the time, so I ended up getting help for those.

“So it was a longer process than I had anticipated but I think the book is better for it.

“I was quite careful writing the book, saying ‘I felt like this but you might not feel like this, you might feel like something else’.”

It is about how to deal with grief, survive it, and help others through the pain.

Carolyn has two children, aged eight months and four years.

Cuddle a Memory was launched on Sunday at the Aubrey Park Hotel and is available to buy on Amazon.