When Cathy Sosnowsky and her family first joined the Hemming Bay Community, a cooperative formed to preserve a large piece of wilderness on a remote coastal island of British Columbia, she found the idea of experiencing the raw wilderness appealing. But as her husband Woldy and his brother Vic thrive in this new environment, Cathy begins to feel like she's not in her element. The wild paradise she envisioned reveals itself as a harsh and hostile environment, the water too cold to swim, the beaches rocky and jagged. Cathy withdraws to her work, her love of raising her family, and her passion for sharing meals sourced from local delicacies with her new friends. But when their lives take a tragic turn, with the loss of their three children, one to a fatal and tragic accident and two to addiction, the couple begin to drift apart. Determined to find a way through the anguish and alienation, Woldy finds his recipe for healing by building Heartstone Lodge, and Cathy pursues a healing journey through her writing. Ironically, the writing becomes her link to Heartstone Lodge, drawing her back to the support of the community and the wilderness she shared with her children.
Through anecdotes of living in nature and the stories of the people and animals of Hemming Bay, a different type of family emerges and Cathy reflects on the imposing presence of those who have departed, often by way of death, a journey we all will eventually take. After their son Michael returns from eight years in a Chinese jail with a longing for Hemming Bay fish and chips, their family begins to rebuild, re-establishing their tradition of sharing meals as a reminder of summer days spent in the wild.
With quiet strength and conviction, Cathy confronts her emotions and reflects on the healing power of nature in this tender memoir.
After teaching poetry as a college instructor for many years, Cathy Sosnowsky turned to writing for solace after the loss of her three children, one to a fatal and tragic accident and two to addiction. Her poetry collection, HOLDING ON: POEMS FOR ALEX (Granville Island Publishing, 2001), traces her passage through grief and her memoir, SNAPSHOTS: A STORY OF LOVE, LOSS AND LIFE (Granville Island Publishing, 2010), includes the story of losing her two adopted children to addiction. Cathy's writing has also appeared in the VANCOUVER SUN, the GLOBE & MAIL, the GEORGIA STRAIGHT, and PACIFIC YACHTING. She has presented about grief and writing worldwide, conducts writing workshops, and is the chapter leader and newsletter editor of the North Shore Compassionate Friends, a parents bereavement group. Her latest book, FINDING HEARTSTONE, is a testimony to the healing power of writing, home cooking, and nature. Cathy lives in North Vancouver, BC.