In 2017 Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, a search and rescue pilot for 24 years, was involved in a helicopter crash off the west coast of Ireland. All four crew members on board the rescue helicopter died in the early hours of March 14th.
Niamh’s profession means she’s used to being open about emotions, even the painful ones. After her sister died she began speaking publicly about trauma and some of the losses in her own life, like infertility and the end of her marriage. This led to writing her first book, Tell Me the Truth About Loss, which was published three years after Dara’s death.
‘On the day Dara died I wrote three words into the Notes section of my phone, born from a desperate need to capture how I felt when I heard she was dead – because the feelings were so enormous. The words I wrote were: visceral, vicious, violent’.
Niamh kept dropping words into the Notes section on her phone as she went along.
That primitive note-taking would eventually become the foundation for her book, but at the time it helped her simply because ‘it was a space to name my grieving experience in real time’, she said.
Grief is something that will visit us all, for if we love, we will at some point in our life feel the pain of loss. Therefore, normalising experiences and dispelling the myths around grief can be very useful.
‘Writing the book gave me space for reflection which was a different space from the daily note-taking of my feelings, it felt like doing a therapy session through the medium of writing a book’.
Many people feel the need to find a greater sense of meaning in life after loss. Helping others on their journey is Niamh’s way of finding meaning after the death of her beloved sister and friend, Dara.
Tell Me the Truth About Loss was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year (Non-Fiction) in the 2020 Irish Book Awards. It reached No 3 in the Irish bestseller list.
Niamh Fitzpatrick together with UK author Rachel Kelly joins us for a very special online event on 16 January 2023 12:30 – 2:00 pm UK time.
Tickets are available now for £5.
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